Have given time to Haryana govt till March 31, says Yashpal Malik

All-India Jat Arakshan Sangharsh Samiti chief Yashpal Malik’s recent threat to disrupt BJP national president Amit Shah’s rally in Jind made the Haryana government jittery yet again.

india Updated: Feb 13, 2018 16:24 IST
Hardik Anand
Hardik Anand
Hindustan Times, Rohtak
Haryana govt,March 31,Yashpal Malik
The caste-warrior from Uttar Pradesh, Yashpal Malik has been setting Haryana’s Jat agenda for years.(HT Photo)

Yashpal Malik, the caste-warrior from Uttar Pradesh, has been setting the Jat agenda in Haryana for years. His organisation, the All-India Jat Arakshan Sangharsh Samiti (AIJASS), has spearheaded several Jat agitations demanding reservation under the Other Backward Classes (OBC) category in government jobs and educational institutions. Malik’s recent threat to disrupt BJP national president Amit Shah’s rally in Jind made the Haryana government jittery yet again. It organised parleys and once again agreed to meet all his demands.

We spoke to Malik on his meeting with the government, and the future of Jat protests that have become routine in Haryana.

What happened in your meeting with CM Khattar and BJP leaders on Sunday?

In the six-hour meeting, we presented our apprehensions before the government on the delay in fulfillment of our demands. In March 2017, and again in August, the government had assured us it will honour our truce. We felt that the government was breaking its promise. On Sunday, the CM and Union minister Birender Singh assured us again that they were serious about working for Jats’ welfare. All our pending demands will be met soon.

What made you believe in the government this time?

The government listed factors that were causing the delay in the withdrawal of cases. For example, the Dera violence that rocked Haryana kept officials busy for two months and they could not work on withdrawing cases against the Jats. We genuinely felt that the government had its plate full with other important things. The day we announced that we will disrupt the Amit Shah rally, the government withdrew 85 cases. It promised that it was in the process of withdrawing more cases and a new list will be announced. In the end, we can only believe in the government and hope it keeps its word.

“We will wait till March 31 for the government to do what it has promised before deciding if we will start a new protest.” — Yashpal Malik

What were the contentious issues discussed at the meeting?

The three main issues were the withdrawal of every single case against Jats; reservation for the community at the Centre and in Haryana. The government has also assured us that OBC bill will be passed in Parliament in the current session and it will submit data to the backward commission before March 31 for reservation in the state.

Did the government agree to withdraw the cases transferred to the CBI?

The government agreed to withdraw all cases. Whether they are in the ambit of state or the Centre, it is for the government to handle. The government has also assured us that it will convince finance minister Captain Abhimanyu to withdraw cases related to loot and arson at his residence, in which many Jat men continue to languish in jail.

After this truce, will you still go ahead with holding Balidan Divas on February 18?

Balidan Divas, in memory of 18 Jats killed in 2016, is the annual event of the community to be marked in every Jat-dominated district of the country. It will be organised every year, including this time on February 18. We had earlier planned to announce new dates of agitation during the Balidan Divas. However, since talks with the government have gone well, we will not talk about a new agitation for now.

Jat protests have become routine in Haryana. What are your plans?

We will wait till March 31 for the government to do what it has promised before deciding if we will start a new protest. This time, we hope that we will not have to wait long. Our social movement to uplift the Jat community by setting up educational institutes and skill centres will continue.

First Published: Feb 13, 2018 16:24 IST