Jat quota stir ripples felt in Delhi, forces try to restore water supply

  • Agencies, New Delhi/Chandigarh
  • Updated: Feb 22, 2016 01:48 IST
Residents with their empty containers wait to fill water from a municipal tanker in New Delhi. (Reuters Photo)

Security forces on Sunday used tear-gas shells, resorting to force to remove Jat protesters from the Munak canal in Haryana from where the water supply to Delhi has been disrupted.

Sources said army and paramilitary personnel reached the place where the water supply equipment and machines were damaged by the protesters.

“The Haryana government is giving top priority to restore water supply to Delhi,” Haryana Police chief YP Singhal said.

He said paramilitary forces and irrigation department officials have reached the place where the water supply to the national capital was disrupted by the Jat agitators on Saturday and efforts were being made to restore the supply.

At least 10 people have been killed in the weeklong protests that turned violent on Friday, Yashpal Singhal, the Haryana’s top police officer, told reporters on Sunday. Another 150 protesters have been injured in clashes in various parts of Haryana.

The protesters are demanding benefits, including guaranteed government jobs or university spots.

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said the capital was “facing a very serious water crisis” because of the Jat protests in Haryana and water was to be strictly rationed in the city.

The Munak canal in Haryana, which supplies water to many parts of Delhi, was shut down after it was vandalised by a section of Jats demanding quota in government jobs and educational institutions.

Kejriwal said he had spoken to Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar and union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on the need to restore water supply to Delhi at the earliest.

He said water would be supplied through tankers to areas in Delhi hit by scarcity.

Because of the water crisis, all schools in the national capital would be shut on Monday.

The protests also paralysed traffic in Uttar Pradesh’s Ghaziabad district bordering Delhi. Jat leaders from across the rural areas assembled at Hapur junction, at Duhai on National Highway-58 and near the Lal Kuan Atma Steel factory on National Highway-24 and halted road traffic.

Another group of Jat leaders staged a sit-in outside the residence of Union minister VK Singh and burnt his effigy.

Police personnel were deployed in large numbers at the Abupur water treatment plan on Upper Ganga Canal from where water is supplied to Delhi.

“No untoward incident has occurred at the water supply point,” said superintendent of police RK Pandey.

Some Jats stopped traffic on the Delhi-Saharanpur road at Behta Hazipur but the police persuaded them to let the traffic move, police said.

“Overall the situation in Ghaziabad is under control. Jat leaders were allowed to protest but no violence was allowed,” said additional deputy magistrate Preety Jaiswal.

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