HOURS BEFORE Jat agitators withdrew the call for the Delhi march on Monday, the reservation agitation turned violent in Fatehabad district of Haryana on Sunday when two police buses were set on fire following a confrontation between protesters and cops. About a dozen cops, including a DSP, Gurdyal Singh, were injured in the stone-pelting by agitators. Some protesters were also injured in the lathicharge. The cops also used teargas to disperse the mob.
The Jat agitators were sitting on a dharna near Dhani Gopal village in Fatehabad district. In view the call for the Delhi march on tractor-trolleys, police had put up a barricade a few kilometres from the protest site. The force, led by DSP Gurdyal Singh, was not allowing protesters to go to the dharna site by tractor-trolley. But the protesters refused to budge. Soon, more agitators on tractor-trolleys began arguing with the cops to allow them to go to the dharna site. But, the police wanted to stop tractor-trolleys from going towards Delhi. Villagers alleged that they were also not being allowed to go to their fields.
Police sources said a youngster threw a log at the DSP, injuring him. It led to confrontation and police resorted to a lathicharge and teargassing to disperse the agitators. Meanwhile, people from neighbouring villages, on tractor-trolleys, started gathering near the dharna site. The villagers started throwing stones and attacking the cops. They even set two buses ablaze.
“They were throwing bricks at us,” said Inspector Bimla Devi, who was injured. However, according to her, some villagers helped police. “We also took the cops to nearby hospitals,” said Raj Kumar Kaswan, a resident of Dhani Gopal village told The Indian Express.
Journalists, who were at the spot, also suffered injuries. It is alleged that their cameras were snatched in an attempt to prevent them from capturing the faces of protesters. “We did not use force first. They (attackers) injured the DSP. Only then was force used against them,” said OP Narwal, SP, Fatehabad. “They were carrying weapons,” he alleged.
The All India Jat Aarakshan Sangharsh Samiti (AIJASS) president Yashpal Malik, though, said the police resorted to lathicharge on the protesters when they were entering the jurisdiction of Fatehabad district from Hisar. “Atrocities have been committed on the agitators. We have sought a fair probe,” said Malik in Delhi where he addressed a joint press conference with Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Sunday to announce the withdrawal of the Delhi march. Khattar said, “Investigation will be conducted and action will be taken against the guilty.”