As Jat stir continues, cracks appear in Khattar cabinet

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
  • Updated: Feb 23, 2016 15:52 IST
A view of burned Jhajjar police station as jat protest for reservation in government services protest (Hindustan Times)

The violent agitation by Jats demanding reservation in government jobs and education in Haryana has brought the unambiguous fault lines in the state’s council of ministers to the fore.

Its first manifestation became visible on Monday.

Anil Vij, the health minister in the Manohar Lal Khattar government, expressed his disapproval at the declaration of a compensation of Rs 10 lakh and government job to the next of the kin of those who were killed in the violence.

Vij, who is a Punjabi, was irked that the announcement was made by his cabinet colleagues despite the fact that they had reached a consensus in the cabinet meeting saying it was not the right time do so. The announcement was made by education minister Ram Bilas Sharma soon after the meeting got over.

“There was unanimity in the Cabinet meeting that announcing compensation for loss of lives may further complicate the situation. No one can say with surety at this hour as to who all were innocent or not. Besides, divergent voices are being heard with regards to the quantum of compensation ranging from Rs 25 lakh per deceased to Rs 1 crore,’’ a BJP source, privy to the details of the cabinet meeting, said.

The health minister, who is known for his plain speak and often takes conflicting stand, was also upset at the government’s soft approach in dealing with rioters and its failure to take stern action against Jat protestors. His Monday morning tweet gave a peek into his mind.

“I will speak to the chief minister today about the action being taken against the perpetrators of violence,” Vij wrote on Twitter.

During the cabinet meeting, Vij reportedly told his colleagues that compensation cannot be given to the perpetrators who were killed by the police and the army. After the announcement was made by his cabinet colleague, a furious health minister expressed his annoyance to Khattar and an influential cabinet minister, who was not present in the meeting.

He then left the chief minister’s office at the civil secretariat sulking. Khattar convened another meeting of his ministers at his house on Monday evening to placate Vij

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