Life is expected to return to normal in Haryana as Jats, who were on a rail blockade in Haryana for over three weeks, demanding government jobs under the Other Backward Classes (OBC) quota, have decided to suspend their stir after agreements with the government.
Jats started leaving the tracks on Friday night after Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda agreed to set up a ‘Haryana Backward Classes Commission' within a month. In a statement, the Chief Minister said the Jats agreed to lift all blockades and dharnas with immediate effect.
The commission will consider the demands of Roar, Jat, Jat Sikh, Tyagi, Bishnoi and any other community which wishes to be included in the backward classes list in the State.
The Supreme Court on Thursday took strong exception to the Uttar Pradesh and Haryana Chief Ministers' ‘support' to the Jat stir for quota in central jobs and asked the two States and Rajasthan to ensure that the supply of water and other essential commodities to Delhi was not affected.
The Punjab and Haryana High Court too had directed the Haryana government to immediately get the rail and other blockades cleared to restore normal movement of trains.
However hours after Mr. Hooda's statement, Jat leaders said they would seek a written assurance on reservation before calling off their stir.
“We had a meeting with Mr. Hooda on Friday night. He assured us that all our demands would be met in the coming days but still we have not ended our stir,” Hawa Singh Sangwan, president of the Haryana Jat Arakshan Samiti said. “We are still evaluating the situation and waiting for a written assurance from the government,” Mr. Sangwan added.
The protesters, including women, children and the elderly, had blocked rail tracks at 15 points across Haryana. The worst affected were the districts of Hisar, Bhiwani and Jind. Thousands of passengers were put to inconvenience as the authorities cancelled several trains passing through Haryana in the last three weeks. The Jat leaders had earlier announced that they would block the Delhi-Ambala-Amritsar rail track if their demand was not met by March 25. The deadline ended on Friday. The leaders also warned that if their demands were not met by March 28, they would block all roads and rail tracks in Haryana, including those going to Delhi.
On the rampage in U.P.
Jats in U.P. went on the rampage blocking roads, indulging in brick-batting, opening fire, torching vehicles and holding government officials captive at separate places in Gautam Buddha Nagar district prompting the police to resort to lathicharge and arrest 12 protesters, officials in Lucknow said.
Around 250 members of the community blocked road in Mirzapur village under Rabupur police station in GB Nagar district on Saturday afternoon, they said.
When Additional Superintendent of Police Rakesh Jolly and Additional District Magistrate O.P. Arya reached the spot and asked the protesters to lift the blockade, they allegedly indulged in brick-batting and opened fire, sources said.
In retaliatory action, police resorted to lathi-charge, fired tear gas shells and arrested 12 persons.
Meanwhile, in Nilauni Shahpur village, adjacent to Mirzapur, officials and members of the divisional task force led by executive engineer Krishna Kumar were held captive by the trouble-makers.
The agitators also torched four vehicles including a truck and three jeeps, sources said.
While all members of the task force were rescued by police, deputy director of welfare department A.K. Verma could not be traced, they said.