The ongoing Jat reservation row in neighbouring Haryana spilled to parts of Uttar Pradesh on Sunday. Protesters blocked major crossings, disrupted railway traffic and led rallies in Ghaziabad. However, no act of violence was reported.
Hundreds of protesters, armed with lathis and rods blocked the railway track at Duhai, which is located on the Ghaziabad-Meerut railway section, nearly 10-12km from the city.
Heavy police and railway protection forces were deployed to avoid any untoward incident as protesters blocked the tracks despite an approaching passenger train.
“We sent personnel from four police stations to drive away the protesters from the neighbouring villages who gathered on the railway tracks. The train was not allowed to proceed further and the railway traffic was disrupted for over two hours,” Rakesh Kumar Pandey, superintendent of police, said.
As the number of protesters kept increasing, the train was halted at Guldhar and movement of trains towards Meerut and Saharanpur was suspended.
“The passenger train was halted from 2.15pm to 4.45pm, which also led to a delay of three trains on the route. The train resumed on its path later,” DK Chopra, divisional traffic manager at Ghaziabad junction, said.
On Sunday morning, residents from Razapur, Raispur, Sadarpur villages threatened to move towards the UP Gate (near Delhi-Ghaziabad border) through Mohan Nagar. Accompanied by members of the Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU), they blocked the busy Hapur Chungi intersection. Women and children sat on the roads while tractor-trolleys and other vehicles were used to create a blockade.
“The reservation to Jats was given and withdrawn later. Our people were fired upon and killed in Haryana. We do not believe in violence but demand a compensation of `1 crore for those who were killed and also government jobs for their family members,” Chaudhary Rajvir Singh of BKU’s Ghaziabad unit, said.
The lathi-wielding women protesters chased away motorists who tried to break the cordon to cross the intersection.
After many speeches at the fountain block at the intersection, the blockade was cleared around 1.30pm.
Later, the protesters handed over a memorandum to the district officials, which was addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Another set of protesters led a rally from Raj Nagar to the residence of Ghaziabad MP General VK Singh (retired) and raised slogans against the Bharatiya Janata Party leader.
“The PM assured us of the reservation but is yet to fulfil the demand even after a year. Reservation is required to maintain a social balance. We demand resignation of the Haryana chief minister as a number of people were killed in the firing in the last few days,” Dharmveer Chaudhary of All India Jat Arakshan Bachao Maha Andolan, said.
Various protests and rallies across the city kept the police on its toes. “We had to alert the personnel at the Indirapuram, Link Road and Sahibabad police stations as protesters threatened to move towards the UP Gate. After they blocked the Hapur Chungi intersection, reinforcement from the three police stations was roped in,” Salman Taj, superintendent of police (city), said.