The pro-reservation protests by Jats in Haryana turned violent on Thursday, with several people reported injured and clashes between the protesters and police personnel in Rohtak, forcing Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar to convene an emergency meeting of the Cabinet in the evening.
A few vehicles, including at least one police vehicle, were damaged by the protesters in Rohtak. In the evening, the administration clamped prohibitory orders in the district by imposing Section 144 of CrPC to avert any further deterioration in law and order situation.
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Rohtak SP Shashank Anand said BSF personnel have been deployed to control the situation. “Now we have 15 companies,” he said. Deputy Commissioner, Jhajjar, Anita Yadav said schools and colleges have been closed until February 22 as a precautionary measure.
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With most national and state highways and railway tracks blocked by protesters, traffic movement in districts such as Hisar, Jind, Jhajjar, Panipat, Sonepat and Bhiwani also remained severely affected throughout the day. Protesters clashed with the police in Jind and Bhiwani as well.
The state Cabinet appealed to the protesters to call off the agitation. The Cabinet’s emergency meeting decided to convene an all-party meeting on Friday.
Khattar called up former Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda of the Congress and various other Opposition leaders, asking them to attend the meet. CLP leader Kiran Choudhary, state Congress president Ashok Tanwar, Leader of Opposition Abhay Chautala and Haryana Janhit Congress leader Kuldeep Bishnoi have also been called for Friday’s meeting .
During the Cabinet meeting, Khattar also asked the IAS officers’ committee constituted to look into the issue of Jat reservation to submit its report before the Assembly session starts on March 17.
Meanwhile, the Centre is keeping a close watch on the situation in the state, sources said. “Law and order has to be under control. It has to be done at any cost,” a senior BJP leader said. The Central government, including the Home Minister, is in touch with the CM, the leader added.
National President of All India Jat Arakshan Sangharsh Samiti, Yashpal Malik said, “The agitation will be taken to every state. From tomorrow, protests will also begin in Faridabad, Palwal and Karnal.”