As protests by the Jat community, seeking reservations under the Other Backward Classes (OBC) category, continued Saturday, Gurgaon authorities invoked Section 144, barring the assembly of five or more persons anywhere in the Millennium city.
Deputy Commissioner T L Satyaprakash, who issued the order, said it was meant to “thwart and prevent occurrence of any… unlawful activities, blocking of roads, passages, railway tracks, water channel…”.
He assured that the situation would be under control by Sunday. “We have been holding talks with protesters and the administration will issue an order by Sunday morning,” he said.
Meanwhile, protesters continued to block all major traffic intersections and roads in Gurgaon Saturday. The Basai Road, which connects Gurgaon to Jhajjar, as well as Daultabad flyover and Atul Kataria Chowk, were blocked. Protesters also blocked Subhash Chowk, Chaudhary Bakhtawar Chowk, Maharana Pratap Chowk, Dhankot village, Cyber Park, Gadoli Village Basai and Gurgaon Gaon.
“We are not going to withdraw the agitation till our demands are met. However, we are taking measures to keep the protest peaceful,” said Rashtriya Jat Mahasabha spokesperson Paramjit Pawadia.
Later in the day, protesters blocked NH-1, causing huge traffic snarls near Kundli in Haryana and Singhu Border in Narela. Sources said areas bordering Delhi were also sealed. Over 1,000 policemen from the Bhondsi unit as well as civil lines have been deployed across Gurgaon, they said.
Gurgaon Police Commissioner Navdeep Singh Virk, however, claimed that the situation was “peaceful”.
“Gurgaon has remained peaceful. In terms of road blockades, the situation is better than it was yesterday. Though several blockades were put up, many were lifted after discussions with the protesters. The NH-8 was blocked for about 15 minutes but it opened later…Two companies of Haryana Police have been sent to Gurgaon. The district administration and police have held discussions with prominent citizens of Gurgaon to restore normalcy,” said Virk.
Meanwhile, Maruti Suzuki India has decided to temporarily suspend operations at its factories in Gurgaon and Manesar, due to the ongoing protests.
“… Supplies of certain components have been disrupted. As a consequence, the company has had to temporarily suspend manufacture of cars at its facilities in Manesar and Gurgaon…The company is making efforts to arrange the components from other sources. Once the supply of components is restored, operations will resume,” said a spokesperson.
Vowing to continue the agitation till all their demands were met, O P Sindhu, leader of Jat Aarakshan Sangharsh Samiti, said, “This is the final stage of our struggle and we won’t stop till our demands are fulfilled”.