Haryana: Jat agitation Peaceful ‘Black Day’ amid security

The Jats will start “non-cooperation” from March 1 during which they will not pay any bills or repay loans.

Written by Khushboo Sandhu | Chandigarh | Published:February 27, 2017 9:09 am
Protesters during a dharna at Jassia village in Rohtak on Sunday.  Express Protesters during a dharna at Jassia village in Rohtak on Sunday. Express

JATS SITTING on protest across the state observed ‘Black Day’ on Sunday against the policies of the BJP government in Haryana and sought fulfillment of their demands. On the 29th day of the agitation, wearing black turbans, shirts, dupattas and caps, a large number of protesters reached the dharna sites at 19 places in the state. There was a large deployment of security in the districts. The Jats will start “non-cooperation” from March 1 during which they will not pay any bills or repay loans. Then, on March 2, a rally will be held by Jats from Delhi and Uttar Pradesh at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi where the next course of action will be decided.

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In Hisar, a group of protesters broke the gate of the railway crossing at Ramayan village and tried blocking the Sirsa-Delhi rail track on Sunday. Hisar SP Rajender Kumar Meena said, “A group of protesters tried to block the railway track and broke the gate of the crossing. The Deputy Commissioner and I, along with security personnel, reached the area. We ensured the movement of trains was smooth and there was no disruption.”

Meena added that they had video footage and photographic evidence of the protesters. “We will be taking strong legal action against them. We are in the process of identifying those who were involved,” he said. All India Jat Aarakshan Sangharsh Samiti (AIJASS) members, meanwhile, denied that the protesters had any connection with them. Instead, they blamed rival organisations and the government for attempting to cause unrest.

“Our protests across the state have been peaceful for the last 28 days. The people, who sat on tracks in Hisar today, had no connection with us. The other organisations seem to be trying to cause disruption. The government is also trying to create unrest and blame it on us. We will not let that happen,” said AIJASS president Yashpal Malik, who visited Sonepat, Rohtak and Jind to address protesters.

Traffic on National Highway 71A, that connects Rohtak with Panipat, was diverted due to the movement of protesters. Commuters were asked to go via Lakhanmajra or Kharkhaunda.

Reiterating their decision to not hold talks with the five-member committee, constituted by the government and headed by Chief Secretary D S Dhesi, the protesters stated that since the committee had no power to take decisions, they would not hold talks.

Besides reservation, the Jats have been demanding that cases registered against the youth during the agitation last year be taken back. The agitation, in February last year, had turned violent, leaving 30 people dead apart from damaging property worth crores. The government has expressed helplessness in withdrawing cases that are being probed by CBI. Further, the protesters have sought compensation and jobs for the families of those killed during the agitation.

Malik said that from March 1, they will start a non-cooperation movement against the government. “We will not pay any bills, including those of water and electricity, as well as not return any government loans. For one day, there will be no supply of milk and vegetables. We will decide the date for this.”

He added that the Jats of Delhi and UP will gather at Jantar Mantar on March 2 to hold a protest. A decision will be taken on when the protesters in Haryana would begin their march towards Delhi. AIJASS will also hand over a memorandum to President Pranab Mukherjee, listing out its demands. The number of dharnas will be increased on March 2.

Black Day was also observed in Delhi. AIJASS general secretary Rohtash Hooda exhorted people to carry on with the protest till their demands are met.

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