Jats’ quota protest hits rail services

After the protesters blocked the railway track around 3.15 pm, three trains, including Gorakhdham Superfast Express (Hisar-Gorakhpur), Rewari-Ganganagar Express and Kisan Express (Delhi-Bathinda) passing from Mayar, were halted by railway authorities at Hisar and Hansi railway stations.

Written by Sanjeev Verma | Hisar | Published:February 13, 2016 5:40 am

A FACTION of Jats Friday began an “indefinite stir” against the state government demanding reservation in educational institutes and government jobs. The faction, under the banner of Akhil Bharatiya Jat Arakshan Sangharsh Samiti, decided to squat on the railway tracks at Mayar Village of Hisar district. The protest resulted in disruption of rail traffic on the track. A few trains were cancelled.

Mayar is where Sandeep, a Jat protester, had died during a clash between protesters and Rapid Action Force (RAF) personnel on March 6, 2012. During February-March, 2012, Jats had launched a massive protest against the government that went on for over three weeks.

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Earlier this week, a delegation of Jat organisations had met Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar at his residence in Chandigarh over the reservation issue. Khattar had assured them that the government would examine their demands for which a committee headed by chief secretary D S Dhesi was also constituted. The committee has to give its report to the state government by February 20. However, the ABJASS, led by a Jat leader Hawa Singh Sangwan, decided to go ahead with the protest.

Addressing the protesters, who had reached Mayar from Hisar, Rohtak, Jind, Bhiwani and Sonepat, state head of the ABJASS, Hawa Singh Sangwan said, “Till now, we have failed to hear about any promise from the government. Hence our agitation will continue here at Mayar till any minister or BJP leader comes here to assure us that we would be provided reservation such as the Jats of Uttar Pradesh and seven other states.”

After the protesters blocked the railway track around 3.15 pm, three trains, including Gorakhdham Superfast Express (Hisar-Gorakhpur), Rewari-Ganganagar Express and Kisan Express (Delhi-Bathinda) passing from Mayar, were halted by railway authorities at Hisar and Hansi railway stations.

Sangwan added that there were “two main issues for the government to address.” The first was reservation for Jats and the second demand they want the government to “shut the mouth of Rajkumar Saini (Kurukshetra BJP MP).” Sangwan, a retired Commandant of CRPF, warned, “Saini addressed Jats as Ravan and Sunwar (pigs). Either the state should shut his mouth or withdraw his security so that we can make him understand in our style.”

He told the gathering that on Thursday he had a talk with the state BJP president Subhash Barala but he also did not give any assurance because the government does not know what would the outcome of their 4-member committee constituted by Haryana CM to look into the issue. After discussion with other Khap leaders, he informed the gathering that they do not want any time bound action but they just want promise from the government and then they will take no time to call off their agitation.

Captain (retd) Man Singh Dalal, spokesperson of Dalal Khap Chaurasi, said, “We received a call from Hisar Deputy Commissioner Chander Shekahr Khare. We have told him our demands. But we will not get up from the tracks on any kind of assurance from government officials. We want a minister or a BJP leader to promise us that our demands will be met.” He said they are also organising a grand rally at Sampla in Rohtak on February 14 and this agitation will also continue.

Before launching the protest, Jat groups assembled around 1 pm at a ground in Bhagana village, around 1.5 kms from Mayar railway track. Addressing the gathering, heads and spokespersons of Dhankar Khap, Dalal Khap Chaurasi, Hooda Khap, Jakhar Khap, Sheoran Chaurasi Khap urged to get united and fight for their rights. The leaders were of the view that since the Jat associations or khaps are not united, the state BJP government is taking advantage of the situation.
By evening the tents were pitched by the side of railway track and arrangements of Hukka, music system, microphones and loudspeakers were made to entertain the agitating jats with Haryanvi Raginis.

Hisar City Magistrate Surjit Singh Nain and BDPO Preetpal visited the spot at Mayar at 9.15 pm to request Jat leaders to at least once meet the committee headed by chief secretary D S Dhesi. Sangwan, however, said they would take a decision Saturday.