While the Haryana government sought army assistance to quell the Jat quota agitation in at least eight districts, the government on Friday also announced to bring in a special bill for giving quota under the Backward Classes (BC) category to Jats and four other communities, in the upcoming budget session of the Vidhan Sabha. But, the stir refused to abate, and at least one protester was reported killed in firing by security forces in Rohtak.
“The bill would be framed after consultation with Jat leaders and all political parties,” chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar told the media after an all-party meet convened at a short notice to discuss ways to end the ongoing agitation by Jats for quota in government jobs and educational institutions.
The meeting was held after a decision in the emergency state cabinet meeting held by Khattar on Thursday evening as the stir by Jats — who have blocked roads and rail tracks for the past five days — spread to almost all 21 districts of Haryana, throwing life out of gear and causing inconvenience to lakhs of people, mainly office-goers, students and commuters.
Besides Khattar and BJP state chief Subhash Barala, Haryana Congress president Ashok Tanwar, former Congress chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Kiran Chaudhry, Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) state president Ashok Arora, former minister Jaswinder Sandhu, and BSP MLA Tek Chand Sharma, attended the meeting.
Khattar also categorically said that all remarks made by BJP’s Kurukshetra MP Raj Kumar Saini against Jats be considered as having been withdrawn. Saini had went on the form a ‘sena’ (brigade) to counter the efforts of Jats to get into the Other Backward Classes (OBCs) quota.
“Now, since we have sought suggestions from leaders of all parties as well as Jat leaders, and agreed to frame the special backward class bill with consent of all the people concerned, we will discuss the same in the upcoming budget session. I, thus, have no doubt that the agitation would end now,” the CM said.
When asked what would be the state government’s steps if the stir would still be on, Khattar held that in any case “law and order is top priority”.
He avoided comment on questions pertaining to any action against leaders who had been giving provocative remarks against different communities. He also skipped questions on whether there was a failure of intelligence agencies because of which the stir continued to intensify across Haryana.