Jat quota stir: Protesters block NH1 near Sonepat

  • HT Correspondents, Hindustan Times, Chandigarh/Sonepat/Rohtak
  • Updated: Feb 22, 2016 14:37 IST
Barely hours after vacating the highway, members of the Jat community blocked NH1 near Sonepat on Monday. (HT PHOTO)

Belying the Khattar government’s hopes of a quick end to the quota stir after the centre agreed to all demands of Jats on Monday, the protesters are refusing to vacate roads and rail tracks in several parts of the state even as the toll has gone up to 16.

Though the state police, with assistance from the army, have taken control of the damaged portion of Munak canal, the lifeline of water supply to the national capital, the protesters are back on the arterial Delhi-Ambala national highway (NH-1) at Murthal in Sonepat barely a few hours after they had vacated it following the government announcement and appeals.

The protesters, whose number could not be ascertained, blocked the busy Grand Trunk Road at 11.00 am, leading to a traffic jam. The authorities have rushed army and policemen to get the road vacated, but the agitators are adamant, insisting on concrete action by state government.

While reports of sporadic incidents of violence started trickling in again from Hansi, Meham and Jhajjar on Monday morning, the protesters are continuing their protests in Rohtak, the epicenter of the ongoing violent stir in the state. Rapid Action Force (RAF) has been deployed outside the Maharishi Dayanand University (MDU) to clear the area.

Meanwhile, tension prevailed in Kaithal where groups of Jats and non-Jats are confronting each other. The highways to Hisar and Chandigarh are also blocked.

Though traffic movement improved in some parts of Rohtak, the Jat protesters continued their main blockades in town and on the outskirts.

The Khattar administration has been making appeals to the protesters to call of their agitation and lift blockades, but is being severely hampered by the lack of a leader.

The agitation by disparate groups of Jats is without a leader. “We don’t know who to talk to at different places and how to reach out to them, but efforts are on. Hopefully, they will understand that their demands have been met,” a senior IAS officer told Hindustan Times.

In Rohtak, shop owners, traders and other victims of mob attacks, whose shops and other establishments were burnt down or damaged, are out on the streets, demanding security and compensation. The state council of ministers is holding an urgent meeting to take stock of the situation and decide compensation to the victims of mob attacks and families of people killed in firing.

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