Protesters block highway in Rohtak

  • Hardik Anand, Hindustan Times, SAMPLA (ROHTAK)
  • Updated: Feb 15, 2016 00:36 IST

While the rail blockade at Mayyar village of Hisar district was called off on Sunday, thousands of Jats blocked the Delhi-Rohtak highway at Sampla, around 45 km from the national capital, demanding reservation under the other backward class (OBC) category. One of the protesting leaders, Pappu Dalal, said there are plans to block the Bahadurgarh-Beri road and Jhajjhar-Beri road as well.

Chiefs of prominent khaps had gathered for the Jat Swabhiman Rally at Chhotu Ram Memorial to discuss their further course of action, when amid anti-government slogans, several Jat leaders suggested that blockade was the only way to press their demand. However, the khap committee heads announced to wait for the government’s action till March 31, following which angry crowd rushed to the stage and announced their plans to defy the khap decision and block the roads and railway tracks.

Even though the rally was led by Jai Singh Ahlawat of Ahlawat Khap, whoever came onto the stage and raised anti-government slogans was able to sway the crowd. Protesters soon dispersed from the venue to block the National Highway-10. The move, however, did not lead to any snarl-up as the police had already diverted the traffic via link roads.

The protesters raised slogans against the government and slammed the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar, for trying to divide the Jat community.

Birender Bullar Pehelwan, one of the protesting leaders, said: “We should have blocked the roads long ago when the BJP government came into power and snatched away our reservation. But our khap leaders did nothing at that time. We cannot listen to them once again and let our Jat brothers die without land and job. Today we will do whatever it takes to win our rights back.”

Police reached the spot and tried to pacify the leaders, but the protesters said they had arranged for their bedding and food for the night and would not leave the road until a minister reached the spot and assured them of raising their demand with the government. Sampla police station in-charge Rajbir Singh said: “Talks are going on to persuade the protesters.”

Chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar is scheduled to visit Rohtak on Monday for the oath-taking ceremony of the newly-elected sarpanches in the state.

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