Tension gripped the city as around 5,000 Jat protesters gathered in Rohtak to press for their demands, including reservation in government jobs and educational institutions.
Adopting a tough posture, Jat leaders also boycotted a meeting called by the newly-appointed deputy commissioner (DC) Atul Kumar and insisted that he come to meet them at the Jat Bhawan in Sector 1, where they were holding their congregation.
DC Kumar and superintendent of police (SP) Shashank Anand reached the spot to receive their memorandum, listing seven demands, including reservation and withdrawal of arrest warrants against several Jat youths for their participation in the recent reservation stir.
In the memorandum, Jat leaders asked the government to agree to their seven demands within next 72 hours or they will come out on the roads to protest again.
Taking the memorandum, DC Kumar said, “I will convey the demands to chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar. Pressing for your demands is your right, but I request you all to maintain peace.”
Besides reservation and withdrawal of arrest warrants against Jat youths, protesters demanded a strict action against BJP MP Raj Kumar Saini and police officers, including DSP Amit Bhatia and Pawan Sharma, for ordering “lathicharge on innocent youths” inside the Neki Ram College hostel on February 18.
They alleged that ever since India became Independent, this is for the first time that any government used force on people peacefully protesting for their rights. They said they would protest against the government until all seven demands were met.
Heavy police and paramilitary forces were deployed in the area and across the city while barricades were set at 26 spots to control the traffic movement within the city.
Panic in Rohtak
Meanwhile, panic gripped the city as local residents witnessed a large number of policemen and paramilitary personnel deployed in the city. “Is the violence going to happen again?” asked Renu Nagpal from a police personnel. Talking to HT, she said, “Watching such a heavy police and paramilitary deployement is scary. I’m worried if this city is safe for us to live,” she said.
Pandit Suresh Sharma, owner of RN Central Mall, said, “I am scared if all that will happen again. The only solace I get is from the fact that my whole mall is ruined and I have nothing more to lose. But still it feels scary to even imagine it happening all again.”
The same happened in Jind, Jhajjar and Bhiwani where Jats gathered in large number to submit memorandums to respective deputy commissioners to give an ultimatum to the government. In Jind, thousands of Jats gathered at mini-secretariat where DC Vinay Singh came to take their memorandum. Jat leaders said this time, they would themselves make videos of their protest to prove they did not spread violence.