Agitating Jat leaders, who are seeking quota in education and government jobs besides other demands, today met representatives of the Haryana government- appointed committee and had discussions on their demands and “grievances”. While the committee members listened to the demands and “grievances” put forth by the Jats, All India Jat Aarakshan Sangharsh Samiti (AIJASS) president Yashpal Malik, who is spearheading the pro-reservation stir in the state, said the stir would continue till their demands are met. The committee headed by Chief Secretary met a delegation of Jats in Panipat on Saturday led by Malik.
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“The Chief Secretary, Home Secretary, ADGP Law and Order met us. We had discussion on our demands and gave them the list of our demands. We also brought to their notice the grievances which our community members are facing at various dharna sites across the state,” Malik said over phone.
Some Jat activists have alleged that the administration was trying to exert pressure for restricting the participation of volunteers in dharna by sending notices. Malik said that February 19 would be observed as ‘Balidan Divas’ in memory of those who lost their lives during last year’s agitation.
Today was the first meeting between the representatives of AIJASS and the state government ever since the protest was launched in the state about two weeks back. Besides seeking quota in education and government jobs, the demands of the Jats include the release of those jailed during last year’s agitation, withdrawal of cases slapped during the protest and government jobs for the kin of those killed and injured while taking part in the stir.
There is also a demand for action against BJP MP from Kurukshetra Raj Kumar Saini for his alleged anti-Jat rants.
The BJP government in the state this week formed a five-member committee, headed by Chief Secretary D S Dhesi, to hold talks with Jats to consider the demands and resolve the problems of those agitating for reservation among other issues in the state.
Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar had recently indicated that the issues could be resolved through dialogue for which the government’s doors are always open. Even as the ongoing pro-quota Jat stir entered the 14th day today, the situation remained peaceful in the state, officials said.
The main opposition party in Haryana, the INLD, has openly come out in support of the agitating Jats this time and asked the government to meet their demands. During the fresh round of the agitation, the protesters have been staging dharnas at various places in the state amid elaborate security arrangements.
The call for the fresh stir was given by certain Jat outfits, especially those owing allegiance to the body headed by Malik. Khattar had earlier said the government had accepted the demand of Jats of giving jobs to the next of kin of those who had lost their lives during the agitation last year.
In view of the fresh Jat stir, paramilitary forces have been deployed in sensitive areas while the state police is maintaining a strict vigil. As many as 30 people were killed and property worth crores was damaged at many places in Haryana during last year’s Jat stir which had turned violent. However, this time the state has been put on maximum alert, officials said. Rohtak and some of its neighbouring districts, including Sonipat and Jhajjar, were the worst-hit by the violence last year.