Moving to end the quota agitation across Haryana where violence has so far claimed 11 lives and left over 150 injured, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh announced Sunday that a committee led by Union Minister
M Venkaiah Naidu will examine the demand by Jats for reservation in central government jobs.
Anil Jain, BJP general secretary in-charge of Haryana, said the party’s government in the state will bring a Bill granting OBC status to Jats in the coming assembly session.
Appealing for an end to the agitation after a delegation of Jats met Rajnath Singh, Jain said: “The Haryana government will give reservation to Jats. It will be done in the forthcoming Vidhan Sabha session of Haryana. The Union government will also constitute a high-powered committee comprising Union Ministers.”
Late evening reports said road blocks were being lifted on some stretches including Saharanpur-Ambala at Yamunanagar, Paonta Sahib-Yamunanagar, Ambala-Kaithal, Saharanpur-Pipli-Kurukshetra, Zirakpur-Parwanoo and Ladwa-Shahbad.
Rajnath Singh told reporters: “We have formed a committee which will be headed by our senior Cabinet minister Venkaiah Naidu. The committee has been asked to file a comprehensive report to find a solution to the issue as soon as possible. I appeal to the people of Haryana to help maintain calm and peace.”
To review the situation in the state, Singh met Union Ministers Sushma Swaraj and Manohar Parrikar. He held a meeting with top officers including the Army chief and NSA Ajit Doval. Also present at the meeting were Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister Nripendra Mishra, Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi, Director of Intelligence Bureau Dineshwar Sharma, Vice Chief of Indian Air Force Air Marshal B S Dhanoa and Delhi Police Commissioner B S Bassi.
In the Home Minister’s meeting with Jat leaders, representatives of the community from Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi besides Minister of State for Agriculture Sanjeev Kumar Balyan, Haryana Minister Abhimanyu, BJP MP Satyapal Singh were present.
After the meeting, Jaipal Singh Sangwan, leader of the Akhil Bharatiya Jat Sangharsh Samiti (ABJSS) which is affiliated to the Yashpal Malik-led All India Jat Aarakshan Sangharsh Samiti (AIJASS), issued an appeal, saying the government had agreed to accept their demands and peace should be maintained.
On Sunday, Haryana witnessed fresh incidents of arson and violence. Protesters torched two railway stations in Gurgaon and a bank branch in Bhiwani. A number of buses were set on fire in Tosham. Rohtak, Bhiwani, Jhajjar and Sonipat remained under curfew.
The agitation also hit Delhi where the AAP government announced closure of schools Monday as part of water rationing after supply from Haryana was disrupted.
An attempt to restore water supply to Delhi from Munak canal in Akbarpur-Barota, Sonipat, failed after protesters outnumbered securitymen sent to the spot with irrigation department officials. In the clash that followed, at least one person died in firing.
Additional Chief Secretary (Home) P K Das said: “Efforts were made to disperse the protesters at Akbarpur-Barota so as to release water for Delhi. But it was in vain. As they were in huge numbers, not much force was used. The attempt to release water was temporarily postponed. According to reports, one person was killed in firing. We appeal to the protesters to let the administration release water for Delhi. It is not fair on their part to resort to such tactics.”
Earlier in the day, Haryana DGP Yash Pal Singal said the death toll had reached 10. Over 150 people, including police personnel, were injured.
National Highway 1 remained blocked for the second day and blockades were set up at several points on the Delhi-Chandigarh stretch. Railway tracks in Panipat and Sonipat were damaged and uprooted at several places between New Delhi and Ambala.
Rohtak, which had been the epicentre of the agitation, witnessed an uneasy calm. IGP (Rohtak range) Shrikant Jadhav was transferred to Madhuban as IG (State Crime Records Bureau).
Sources said Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar may visit Rohtak Monday. Former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and his son and MP Deepender Hooda are also likely to travel to Rohtak.