Tension prevailed in Jind district on Sunday as hundreds of Jat community members continued to block the railway tracks near Jind for the second day, disrupting trains over their demand for a fresh CBI probe into last year's Mirchpur caste violence in which two Dalits were killed.
Members of the Jat Mahapanchayat, including many women, have been sitting on the railway track in Julani village near the Jind railway station since Saturday, refusing to budge until their demands, including a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe, are met.
The Jat Mahapanchayat - a mega conclave of community leaders - had issued an ultimatum to the Haryana government to accept their demands before January 15.
Trains running on the New Delhi-Ferozepur line have been diverted from Narwana to Kurukshetra.
"We have diverted the trains to alternate routes. Due to this blockade, most of the long distance trains are running late. Some of the passenger trains were cancelled and rail traffic was diverted via Panipat, Kurukshetra and Hisar towns," a railway official said.
Chief of NGO Youth Liberation Front Sandeep Singh sat on an indefinite fast here to support the protestors, who raised slogans against the state government.
Leaders from the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Indian National Lok Dal visited the spot to express their solidarity with the agitators.
Protesters were being served food and tea by the residents of neighbouring villages.
Tension prevailed in the entire Jind district as protesters have threatened to intensify their campaign.
The district administration moved in 45 companies of the reserve police to maintain law and order. Police force has also been deployed in Mirchpur village.
"So far, their protest is peaceful. We are keeping a watch on them. Police have made elaborate arrangements to tackle any kind of emergency situation," Ram Singh Bishnoi, Jind's police superintendent, told IANS.
Apart from a CBI probe, the protesters are also demanding that the trial in the case be shifted from New Delhi to Hisar and the arrested Jat youths be released.
The trial was shifted to Delhi last month on the directions of the Supreme Court. A total of 98 Jat youths were arrested in the case and they are currently lodged in a jail in Delhi.
Rajbir Dhanda, a khap leader here, said: "We will continue our protest in a peaceful manner. We would not move from here till our demands are met. So far no government official has contacted us."
Jat Mahapanchayat leaders have called a meeting on Monday to decide the future course of action.
Mirchpur village in Hisar district hit the headlines last year when it was rocked by an arson attack by the dominant upper caste Jat members on a row of houses of the Dalit (Balmiki) families.
As many as 150 lower caste Dalit families were driven out of the village, about 300 km from Chandigarh, and their homes were torched April 21 last year. A 70-year-old man and his 18-year-old physically challenged daughter were killed in the fire in their home and at least 18 houses were destroyed in the attack.