ARMY COLUMNS deployed in Haryana in aid of civil authorities have rescued 29 foreign nationals, including 26 Japanese and three Swedish, over the past two days who were stuck in the state due to Jat agitation.
The Japanese were working in a company named AISIN in Rohtak which manufactures automobile parts. The first batch of 18 Japanese executives of the firm were rescued by Army columns which reached the factory after receiving distress calls. They were later airlifted by helicopter from Rohtak to New Delhi.
Another group of eight Japanese were rescued today from the same factory, They too were airlifted to New Delhi in an Indian Air Force helicopter along with 3 Swedish nationals who had come to Rohtak to attend a wedding and were stuck due to the rioting and road blocks.
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A senior officer involved with the rescue efforts said that timely action by the Army saved these foreigners from what could have been an agonising ordeal and a possible source of diplomatic embarrassment. In addition to the foreigners, the Army also rescued several civilians who were stranded on the National Highway Number 1, near Ambala. These persons were evacuated in Army vehicles to safer locations.
Meanwhile, Army columns deployed in Haryana are striving to use minimum force while dealing with protesters. A senior officer of the Western Command said that all efforts are being made to persuade the protesters to lift the roadblocks on their own without use of any force and that in some instances this has succeeded too.
“While undertaking flag march from Kaithal to Pundri one of the columns came across a road block of felled trees which was manned by about 100 protesters. The column commander was able to convince the protesters to withdraw from the road and thus not only was a potentially volatile situation was defused but he also sought help of the protesters to dismantle the roadblock to which they readily agreed,” said the officer.
In another incident in Kaithal, a group of 200 protesters who were causing a road block in the area of Hanuman Vatika-Pehowa Chowk, dispersed peacefully when asked to do so by the Army column commander.