A protester was killed and many were injured when the police fired on rampaging mob demanding a quota within the reservation for Other Backward Classes in state government jobs in Haryana.
According to unconfirmed reports another protester died later on Monday.
The protesters, who began their agitation by blocking traffic on the Hisar-Delhi national highway, 15 km from Hisar town, turned violent later, setting six private and government vehicles ablaze and hurling bricks at police personnel.
They also attacked a fire tender, ransacked the Mayyar village railway station and damaged rail tracks, forcing the authorities to cancel trains on the Rewari-Bathinda and Jaipur-Hisar sections.
Hisar Deputy Commissioner Yudhvir Singh Khyaliya said, “We told the protesters that the issue was in the jurisdiction of the state government and could not be resolved by the local administration. We requested them to allow the traffic to move but they did not co-operate.”
But the protestors claimed that the police provoked them to violence. “We were holding our meeting peacefully, but the police disturbed us. They entered our rally tents and intimidated the gathering. This provoked protesters to come onto the highway and register their anger,” said the spokesperson of the Akhil Bhartiya Jat Sangharsh Samiti (All India Committee for Jat Agitation), Baljit Singh Panghal.
About 25 persons, including Hisar SP Subhash Yadav and several other policemen, were injured in the clash. The protesters caught hold of a constable in the fields adjoining the highway and broke his legs.
A police spokesperson said the cops exercised restraint and dispersed the mob, which had blocked the highway by resorting to a baton-charge and lobbing teargas shells. This did not work for long. The mob was back, with greater force. The police fired in the air, but the protesters retaliated by hurling bricks and stones at them.
The mob then went on a rampage, damaging public property and vehicles, he said.