Jats block roads, rail routes; army conducts flag march in Haryana
The agitating Jat leaders have rejected the offer made by the Haryana government and said that the stir would continue till their demand is met.Haryana Jat Quota Updated: Feb 21, 2016 11:58 IST
As the Jat stir for quota continued, some unidentified persons set on fire the Budha Khera Railway Station in this district on Saturday.
Furniture, record room and other articles were set on fire at the railway station, which falls on the Jind-Panipat rail section, police said.
The Indian Army is conducting a flag march in Haryana’s violence-hit Rohtak, where three people were allegedly killed and 78 others injured in firing and clash between security personnel and Jats demanding reservation in jobs and education.
The army could not enter Rohtak initially as protesters had put up blockades at several places, forcing the authorities to air drop them.
The army issued a warning asking people to remain inside their homes following the shoot-at-sight orders issued on Friday night in the tension-gripped city, where several private and government properties and vehicles were set ablaze by protesters.
Sources said the army will conduct its flag march in the peaceful areas of the city and will later reach the violence-affected areas near Delhi Road, D Park and Sector 14.
A contingent of the army also took out a flag march on Saturday morning in Bhiwani. The administration has asked people to stay at homes, official sources said.
Incidents of violence and arson continued at several places during the night even as prohibitory orders remained in place in many places including Hisar, Jhajjar, Jind, Kaithal and Panipat.
Road, rail blockade continues
Normal life remained disrupted as protesting Jats continued to block roads and rail routes, affecting the supplies of essential commodities to Rohtak, Jind, Bhiwani and other parts of the state.
Members of the Jat community blocked the Rohtak-Jhajjar road as about 600 people gathered at the demonstration site near Sampla. The protesters also set afire a Haryana roadways bus near Kalanaur town of the district early in the morning.
Reports said they have also started blocking roads in several parts of the northern districts including Radaur at Yamunanagar, Indiri at Karnal and Ladwa at Kurukshetra.
Rail services are severely hampered on the Delhi-Ambala, Delhi-Amritsar, Delhi-Hisar-Fazilka route, and Hisar-Dhuri sections as agitating Jats squatted on railway tracks at few places.
As many as 72 trains have been cancelled while 22 have been partially cancelled by the railway authorities. A number of passenger trains, long distance including super fast passing through or originating in Haryana will remain cancelled on Saturday, railway authorities said.
Northern Railway’s chief public relations officer Neeraj Sharma told ANI that routes passing through Panipat, Rohtak and Rewadi have been closed. He said there have been fire incidents at Jhajjar station and at a halt near Sonipat adding that tracks have been damaged at some places.
Nearly 550 trains were either cancelled or diverted since the agitation began a week ago.
Curfew, shoot-at-sight orders
The agitation escalated and turned violent soon after an all-party meeting held by chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Friday issued an appeal for calling off the stir. After the meeting, Khattar had said the state government will prepare a draft bill for giving reservation to Jats and that suggestions have also been sought from all parties in this regard.
Jat leaders rejected the offer made by the state government and said that the stir would continue till their demand is met.
“There is no solid offer made by Haryana government. BJP government is just trying to befool Jats as its intentions with regard to giving reservation to Jats is not clean,” Jat leader Yashapal Malik said on Friday.
“The government should first bring an ordinance and then bring a bill in Haryana Vidhan Sabha for giving reservation to Jats. If the government does it, then it will be acceptable to us,” he said.
The Haryana government had called the army in nine districts and imposed curfew and shoot-at-sight orders in Bhiwani and Rohtak districts after protests by the Jat community turned violent on Friday.
The protestor was killed in Rohtak when Border Security Force (BSF) personnel had opened fire in “self-defence” after someone from the mob fired at and injured a BSF jawan.
The Centre also sent in 3,300 paramilitary personnel as rampaging mobs held policemen captive, vandalised a mall and set ablaze several government and private properties including the houses of a minister and an MLA from the ruling BJP.
Mobs had held some policemen captive and set on fire the house of state’s finance minister Abhimanyu and several government and private properties in Rohtak, Jhajjar, Hansi and several other parts of the state.
Protestors pelted stones at the residence of a BJP MP Raj Kumar Saini in Kaithal on Friday evening, police said. Around 50 persons attacked Saini’s residence, damaging window panes.
The BJP parliamentarian had earlier expressed objection over giving reservation to Jats and even threatened to resign if there was “any loss” to reservation quota for OBCs.
Protesters had also targeted police and private vehicles, buildings housing offices, including two toll plazas at Hansi in Hissar district and near Rohtak, both located on the Delhi-Hisar-Fazilka National Highway.
Schools were ordered to be closed across the state and mobile internet services were suspended in almost all the districts.
(With inputs from agencies)