The ongoing blockade of roads and rail tracks in Haryana by Jats over the quota issue intensified on Wednesday, even as the state government agreed to double the existing 10% reservation in jobs and educational institutions for economically backward persons (EBP) in the general caste category and including Jats and four other castes under it. It was also decided to enhance the annual income ceiling from Rs 2.5 lakh to Rs 6 lakh to accommodate more people under the EBP quota.
Chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar said a committee formed under the chairmanship of the chief secretary to study all aspects of reservation for special backward classes (SBC) and suggest the best way forward, would submit its report before the forthcoming budget session of the Haryana assembly. He said the committee would consider all suggestions, including that of bringing an appropriate legislation in this regard.
While Rohtak continues to be the epicentre of the protests, the districts of Jhajjar, Sonepat, Hisar, Fatehabad, Bhiwani and Jind are also feeling the impact of the agitation.
The developments took place after four hours of parleys by Khattar with a group of Jat leaders at his Chandigarh residence. However, the agitating Jats seemed reluctant to pull out and end their agitation.
Akhil Bharatiya Jat Aarakshan Sangharsh Samiti (ABJASS) chief Yashpal Malik said: “In my opinion, the state government is trying to mislead Jats of Haryana by floating this proposal. But the final decision about the agitation will be taken on Thursday.” Malik said their demand was that the Haryana Vidhan Sabha should pass a Bill providing reservation to Jats.
Mahender Singh Mor, president of the Akhil Bharatiya Jat Aarakshan Samiti, told newspersons after the meeting in Chandigarh that they were not fully satisfied with the decisions taken and that their agitation would continue.
Meanwhile, finance minister Capt Abhimanyu told mediapersons that the CM had agreed to increase the EBP quota (from 10% to 20%) and the annual income limit to make room for Jats, Jat Sikhs, Rors, Tyagis and Bishnois.
He said the representatives were told that since the reservation under the SBC quota done by the previous Congress government had been stayed by the Punjab and Haryana high court, the EBP quota would be increased.