The talks between Haryana government and Jat leaders Wednesday failed to reach any consensus. After a four-hour meeting at Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar’s residence ended in stalemate, Jats have decided to continue their statewide agitation. The Jat agitation, demanding reservation in educational institutes and government jobs, is likely to gain momentum as several Jat factions have threatened to launch protests in New Delhi, Najafgarh and Uttar Pradesh from Thursday.
Khattar had invited heads of Jat organisations and khaps to his residence in a bid to find an amicable solution to the issue. Over 100 Jat leaders and khap heads reached the CM’s residence Wednesday.
However, a prominent Jat faction led by Yashpal Malik did not attend the meeting and continued with their protests in Rohtak, Hisar, Sirsa, Jind and Bhiwani.
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During the meeting, Khattar and his Cabinet colleagues Capt Abhimanyu and O P Dhankar (both belonging to Jat community), tried their best to pacify the Jats. Khattar even announced that the government would include Jats and four other castes – Jat Sikhs, Ror, Tyagi and Bishnoi – in the category of Economically Backward Persons (EBP).
Khattar told the Jat leaders and the reservation quota under EBP would be increased from 10 to 20 per cent. He added that annual income ceiling under EBP shall also be increased from Rs 2.5 lakh to Rs 6 lakh so that maximum people can be covered under this category.
After the meeting that ended around 5.30 pm, the state government claimed to have arrived at a “broad consensus”. However, the Jat leaders were not convinced.
Akhil Bharatiya Jat Arakshan Sangharsh Samiti (ABJASS) state head Hawa Singh Sangwan, who attended the meeting, said, “I am not happy with the state government’s decision. We want reservation for Jats separately and not with other castes in EBP. But the government also reiterated their earlier promise to us – that Haryana Jats would be given reservation at Centre along with Jats of eight other states. We will see what to do next.”
Sanjay Dalal, leader of the Dalal Khap sitting on protest at Sampla in Rohtak district since Sunday, expressed, “The government is trying to appease Jats. Our fight for reservation is not on the basis of economic condition and if government has decided this, its decision would be set aside by the courts. We want reservation in 27 per cent OBC category in which Saini and Gujjars are included.” He added, “Our protests continue and we have extended it to Hisar, Bhiwani and Sirsa districts.”
Yashpal Malik, national president of All India Jat Arakshan Sangharsh Samiti, told The Indian Express, “Although I was invited for the meeting, I chose not to go. Putting Jats in EBP category is of no benefit to us. Now we have left it to our Haryana unit to take a decision.”
“On Wednesday, we blocked roads at Munirka Metro station in Delhi. Similar protests will be organised in Nazafgarh Thursday and I am visiting Uttar Pradesh. The protests will continue,” Yashpal Malik added.
“It’s a ridiculous decision that is of no use to Jats. We will decide further course of action Thursday. Till then, the protests will continue,” said Mahender Punia, general secretary of the Haryana unit of All India Jat Arakshan Sangharsh Samiti.