Deccan Chronicle

Jat quota stir turns violent, top BJP leaders in a huddle to discuss crisis

Deccan Chronicle | DC Correspondent

Published on: February 20, 2016 | Updated on: February 20, 2016

The Army has been called in the state to quell the ongoing Jat agitation in Haryana.

Jat community members torch motorcyles during their agitation for reservation in Rohtak. (Photo: PTI)

Jat community members torch motorcyles during their agitation for reservation in Rohtak. (Photo: PTI)

Rohtak/New Delhi: With the pro-reservation agitation of Jats getting intensified in Haryana, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju held a meeting at Home Minister Rajnath Singh's residence on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Bharatiya Janata Party leaders (BJP) Sanjeev Balyan,Om Prakash Dhankar, Anil Jain and Ram lal also held a meeting at party office. They will meet BJP president Amit Shah after the meeting.

Read: Jat quota: Shoot-at-sight orders issued in Haryana’s curfew-bound cities

The Army has been called in the state to quell the ongoing Jat agitation in Haryana which took a violent turn.

The Army conducted flag march in intense areas and used choppers to reach parts of Rohtak on Saturday as incidents of violence and arson by Jats demanding quota continued at several places despite authorities imposing curfew and issuing shoot at sight orders in two districts.

Also read:  BJP, RSS conspiring to divide Haryana on caste: Congress

Normal life remained disrupted as protesting Jats continued to block roads and rail routes, affecting the supplies of essential commodities to Rohtak, Jind, Bhiwani and other parts of the state.

Jats are protesting across the state seeking reservation in the government jobs under OBC category.

A school, belonging to a state Minister Capt Abhimanyu, a shopping mall in the city and Budha Khera Railway Station were set on fire by the agitating Jat community members.

Some unidentified persons set the Budha Khera Railway Station on fire. Furniture, record room and other articles were set on fire at the railway station, which falls on the Jind-Panipat rail section, police said.

Police said the protesters set on fire a school, R N Mall and shops adjacent to it in the city. Earlier, the agitators had burnt the house of the Minister, who represents Jat community, and camp office of the local BJP MLA Manish Kumar Grover at his residence here.

Read: Jat quota: Internet services blocked as Haryana CM Khattar calls all-party meet

The minister, who holds key Finance portfolio in Manohar Lal Khattar-led government, said he was saddened by the arson across various places in the state.

Appealing for peace, he said he was in favour of finding a solution to the issue and with the community members but opposed to arson.

Read: Jat leaders reject Haryana government’s offer, quota agitation to continue

Agitators’ also pelted stones at a residence of local BJP MP Raj Kumar Saini in Kaithal, police said.

Around 50 persons attacked the Saini's residence at Sector 19 here, damaging windowpanes. Some adjoining houses were also damaged in the stone pelting, police said.

Read: Jat quota stir: Curfew imposed in Rohtak, Bhiwani city areas of Haryana

Saini had earlier expressed objection over giving reservation to Jats and even threatened to resign if there was "any loss" to reservation quota for OBCs.

No security personnel were deployed at the Saini's residence where he comes every few days to hear grievances since Kaithal falls in his Kurukshetra Parliamentary constituency.

Read: Several trains cancelled in wake of agitation by Jats in Haryana

Meanwhile, unidentified persons looted some weapons from a gun house (shop) at Rohtak, police said, adding that a search has been launched for the miscreants.

The protesters also set on fire the roadways workshop here besides setting on blaze around four state owned transport buses. Rohtak is under curfew with authorities have ordered shoot at sight to maintain law and order.

Top Union Ministers, Rajnath Singh, Manohar Parrikar, Arun Jaitley and Sushma Swaraj on Friday night reviewed the prevailing law and order situation in Haryana.

Read: Unable to get ventilator support on time, man dies amid Jat stir in Haryana

The Union Ministers, along with NSA Ajit Doval, Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi, Director of Intelligence Bureau Dineswar Sharma besides others, took stock of the situation in Haryana where curfew has been imposed in several towns after violence broke out.

The top government functionaries decided that all assistance will be given to the state government to tackle the situation arising out of the violence, official sources said.

Army has already been deployed in several towns to deal with the volatile situation while 3,300 additional paramilitary personnel have also been sent to assist the state government.

Read: Jat stir: 200 paramilitary personnel airlifted to Rohtak

Army was called in on Friday in nine districts of Haryana and curfew was imposed in two districts along with shoot-at-sight orders after one person died and 25 were injured during the Jat stir for quota which turned violent with mobs resorting to widespread arson.

Incidents of violence and arson continued at several places during the night even as prohibitory orders remained in place in many places including Hisar, Jhajjar, Jind, Kaithal and Panipat.

In Bhiwani, a contingent of army took out a flag march this morning. The administration has asked people to stay at homes, official sources said.

The Army could not enter Rohtak initially as protesters had put up blockades at several places, forcing the authorities to air drop them, the sources said.

The agitation, which has been going on for last few days, escalated and turned violent soon after an all-party meeting held by Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar issued an appeal for calling off.

Rail services are severely hampered on the Delhi-Ambala, Delhi-Amritsar, Delhi-Hisar-Fazilka route, and Hisar-Dhuri sections as agitating jats squatted on railway tracks at few places. As many as 37 trains have been cancelled, while 22 have been partially cancelled by the railway authorities.

A number of passenger trains, long distance including super fast passing through or originating in Haryana will remain cancelled today, railway authorities said.

The agitating Jats also squatted on the rail tracks in Gurgaon district today, affecting movement of trains.

A Jat protester in Gurgaon said community members want a "written assurance from the government this time. We cannot be befooled with hollow promises every time".

He said Jats did not believe in violence and it was "anti-social" elements who were indulging in such acts to defame the community and to derail their agitation.

Governor Kaptan Singh Solanki had to cancel his function in Gurgaon today, where he was to address a group of women, with an official saying the decision was taken in view of the situation prevailing in the state.

Meanwhile, Khattar made a fresh appeal to the people to maintain peace and harmony. "I appeal to all my fellow Haryanvis to maintain law & order in the State, and ensure that harmony is maintained in society," he tweeted.

Khattar had recently held talks with Jat and Khap leaders here, but these failed to bear fruit as the protesters remained adamant on their main demand of OBC quota in government jobs and rejected his announcement of enhancement of the quota of reservation for Economically Backward Classes in the state from 10 to 20 per cent.

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