February 24, 2016 2:29:34 am
Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar and his predecessor, Congress’s Bhupinder Singh Hooda, had to face public ire in Rohtak even as the state limped back to normalcy on Tuesday.
While Khattar, who was in the city around noon, was shown black flags, Hooda had shoes hurled at him when he arrived here in the evening. There were also shouts of “Murdabad” as a crowd of residents and traders held both leaders responsible for the arson and lawlessness that has marked the Jat agitation for reservation.
The CM visited a rest house in Rohtak, where a huge crowd of residents and traders, who had incurred losses in the four-day arson, shouted slogans against him and waved black flags. Khattar wanted to visit the affected areas in Rohtak, but the crowd did not let his cavalcade move.
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As he began to address the gathering, the protesters held him responsible for the lawlessness and Khattar’s assurances of a thorough probe into the incidents of violence and arson failed to pacify them. The CM was barely allowed to speak for a few minutes and was forced to go back into the rest house. He then spoke with the media briefly, before flying out to Delhi.
Khattar and Haryana ministers O P Dhankar and Capt Abhimanyu had been called by Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu to Delhi on Tuesday. Naidu heads the committee that was constituted by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh to assess and resolve the Jat reservation issue.
At the meeting at New Delhi, it was learnt that Khattar and his colleagues explained the situation to the Union minister. Sources said they demanded that the party take action against Raj Kumar Saini, its MP from Kurukshetra, for his alleged casteist remarks against Jats, which, they added, was a prime reason for the agitation turning violent. Naidu has called him to his residence on Wednesday.
Later in the evening, Hooda’s vehicle was stopped by a mob near his residence. The mob accused Hooda and his community of attacking them and ruining their livelihood. While Hooda was speaking to them, people hurled shoes at him. Before the crowd turned unruly, Hooda entered his home and his securitymen locked the main door.
The Rohtak district administration asked Hooda to leave the city after the crowd outside his residence began swelling. Hooda held a meeting with party workers and area residents and then returned to New Delhi. The former chief minister was not available for comments.
Hooda’s political advisor Prof Virender Singh has been under the scanner for the last two days after an audio clip, allegedly of him trying to instigate the Jat protesters, went viral on social networking sites.
“We showed these politicians their worth. Our lives have been ruined in this violence. It is jungle raj here and the poltiicians now come to show their sympathy,” said Lalit Mohan Saini, a Rohtak resident.
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