Release deadline lapses, Jat stir on
After the Hisar administration rejected the demand of the Jat protesters on releasing their leaders by Friday afternoon, the agitation spread to the adjoining districts of Jind, Bhiwani and Fatehabad, where the protesters held rail and road blockades.
All roads leading to Delhi, Punjab and Rajasthan were blocked by the Jat protesters, while Hisar continued virtually under siege. At Mayyar village, the epicentre of the protest, thousands of Jat protesters gathered around the body of Sandeep Raj, who was killed in firing. Suresh Koth, a Jat leader, told mediapersons that Sandeep’s last rites will be performed only after their leaders are released from jail.
Meanwhile, Hisar deputy commissioner Amit Kumar Aggarwal said the demand of the protesters was difficult to accept as the Jat leaders were in judicial custody and if they want them out, they should apply for bail. A sarv khap panchayat was also held in Jind on Friday to resolve the impasse between Jat protesters and government, which ended without any outcome.
More than 10,000 protesters, including elderly men, women, youth and girls, assembled at railway tracks near Ramayana with the body of 18-year-old Sandeep Raj. They were demanding immediate release of their leaders and belongings taken by police during a clash with the protesters.
The protesters disrupted traffic by placing stones and trees on national highway-10 at Mayyar village. They also damaged railway track by removing safety pins at Ramayna crossing.
Koth said they had given an ultimatum to administration to release leaders of Jat Aarakshan Samiti and belongings of the protesters, but administration failed to do so. He said the Jat protesters had held similar demonstrations in Bhiwani, Fatehabad and Jind districts on Friday after the administration failed heed their demands. “We will not talk to any one in government or administration now,” he added.
Deputy commissioner Amit Kumar Aggarwal warned that the army has been alerted and the administration would not tolerate violence in the district.
Inspector general of police Arshinder Singh Chawla said a case has been registered regarding Sandeep’s killing, as it was not a natural death. Investigations are on to ascertain how Sandeep died in the firing, he added.
A delegation of khap panchayats led by Sube Singh met arrested Jat leaders in the jail. The Jat leaders said they will decide on lifting blockades and cremating Sandeep only after they are released. They, however, added that the protest in support of reservation would continue.
Two khap leaders, including Pratap Singh Dahiya and Inder Singh Hooda, met the protesters at the railway track and asked them to conduct last rites of Sandeep. However, the protesters paid no heed to them. They demanded that the administration should release their leaders first.
Haryana director general of police Ranjiv Dalal, who is camping here for the last three days, on Friday appealed to the protesters and the members of the family of Sandeep to perform his last rites.
He said some outsiders were misguiding locals. The police had exercised restraint and the protesters should not consider it as a weakness of the police, he added. In order to maintain peace, adequate number of CRPF, ITBP, paramilitary forces and Haryana police personnel have been posted in the area.
Meanwhile, deputy commissioner Amit Aggarwal has denied any move by the government to release the arrested Jat leaders. He warned anti-social elements against damaging public or private property. He said strict legal action would be taken against the guilty.