Chandigarh: The ongoing Jat quota agitation in Haryana on Wednesday entered its fourth day and no untoward incident was reported from anywhere, officials said in Chandigarh, even as AIJASS national president Yashpal Malik addressed the protesters at several locations.
Amid elaborate security arrangements, the Jats held dharnas at several locations which remained peaceful, they said.
The call for the fresh stir has been given by some Jat outfits, especially those owing allegiance to All-India Jat Aarakshan Sangharsh Samiti headed by Yashpal Malik.
In view of the large number of protesters gathering at Jassia village today, the authorities had to divert traffic on the Rohtak-Panipat national highway.
Malik said that he addressed the gatherings at Rohtak, Jhajjar, Sonipat and Panipat.
Haryana's Additional Chief Secretary, Home Department, Ram Niwas said that no untoward incident was reported from anywhere.
"The protesters are carrying out their agitation in a peaceful manner so far," Niwas said.
The government is also closely monitoring the social media for maintenance of law and order, he said.
Niwas said the Deputy Commissioners can exercise powers given under the National Security Act, 1980, if required, to deal with the protesters.
"The DCs can take a call depending on the situation," he said.
However, Malik alleged that this shows the "dictatorial attitude" of the Haryana government.
"The NSA extends to the whole of India except the state of Jammu and Kashmir. While NSA can't be invoked in J&K, but here in Haryana, where Jats are sitting in a peaceful manner, the powers have been given to DCs to take a call.
"We want to remind the Haryana government that people of Haryana understand the language of love and coercive methods cannot be used to suppress their voice," Malik said over phone.
He also demanded that ruling BJP should "first control its own MP (from Kurukshetra) Raj Kumar Saini (over alleged anti-Jat rants) before talking of invoking NSA."
Malik said that in the coming days the number of protesters will swell at the dharna sites in support of their various demands.
The members of the community have been staging peaceful dharnas so far at various locations in the state.
Internet services had been suspended in the vicinity of dharna sites to check spread of rumours. Authorities have also imposed prohibitory orders under Section 144 of CrPC in some areas of the sensitive districts, banning gathering of five or more people.
Paramilitary forces are out in sensitive areas while heavy police force has been deployed to maintain strict vigil.
During a similar stir a year ago, there were 30 deaths and widespread destruction of property. This time, Haryana has been put on maximum alert, officials said.
Rapid Action Force has been deployed at Munak canal in Sonipat district to ensure uninterrupted water supply to the national capital. The agitators had damaged the canal during last year's stir.
Notably, Rohtak and some of its neighbouring districts, including Sonipat and Jhajjar had been worst-hit by the violence which broke out during last year's Jat stir.
Apart from the quota demand, the agitators are demanding release of arrested Jat youths from jails, withdrawal of cases registered during last year's agitation and grant of government jobs to the kin of youths killed and those injured during the earlier stir....