The Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court on Friday directed the Uttar Pradesh government and the Centre to get the railway track and the National Highways cleared of Jat agitators. The High Court has asked them to submit a status report on March 23, when the case will be taken up for hearing.

The Jats demanding reservation in Central government services [within the 27 per cent quota for the OBCs] have been agitating since March 5.

Taking suo motu cognizance of news reports on the jamming of the railway track and highways by the Jat agitators, which has led to cancellation and diversion of several trains, Chief Justice of F. I. Rebello referred the matter to a Bench comprising Justice Uma Nath Singh and Justice V.K. Dixit.

U.P. Principal Secretary (Home) Kunwar Fateh Bahadur and Director-General of Police Karamveer Singh were summoned to the High Court at around 4.30 p.m. following which the directives were issued by the Bench. Notices were also issued to the Union Home Secretary and the Railway Board Chairman. The State government was represented by the Advocate-General, Jyotindra Mishra, while the Additional Solicitor-General, Ashok Nigam represented the Centre.

Within an hour of the directives, Cabinet Secretary Shashank Shekhar Singh told reporters that the “High Court's directives have been well taken and the State government shall do the needful.” Pointing out that it was a “sensitive issue”, the Cabinet Secretary said the State government was fully aware of its responsibility.

Mr. Singh said the cancellation of trains and the diversion of route had caused problems for the people and the stir in western UP had also affected the supply of essential commodities. “But the problem should not be seen in isolation, there were linkages too,” Mr. Singh added. Pointing out that the reservation for the Jats was the prerogative of the Centre, the Cabinet Secretary said some strategy must have been evolved following three rounds of talks between the Union government and the representatives of the Akhil Bhartiya Jat Arakshan Sangharsh Samiti.

The Cabinet Secretary said the Chief Minister, Mayawati, had written a letter to the Union Home Minister, P. Chidambaram asking him to resolve the Jats' reservation issue at the earliest. Mr. Singh said that though Ms. Mayawati supported the Jats on the reservation issue and said that they should take it up with the Centre, she had made it clear that no inconvenience should be caused to the people.

The Jats have been sitting on the rail track at the Kafurpur station in Jyotiba Phule Nagar district since March 5. Their agitation has led to the cancellation of almost all Lucknow and Varanasi-bound trains from New Delhi. The routes of several other trains have been diverted via Kanpur and Tundla.

Keywords: Jat agitation