After a brief lull late on Sunday, pro-reservation protesters from Jat communities were back on the streets on Monday, with three more deaths reported through the day, even as the Haryana government formally announced that it will bring a Bill to give reservation to Jats in the forthcoming session of Vidhan Sabha. The date is not decided yet.
The eight-day agitation has until now left 19 people dead and at least 183 injured.
The state government announced compensation of Rs 10 lakh each to families of “innocent persons” killed in the agitation. It also promised jobs to one member of each dead victim’s family, and “full compensation” for damage caused to private property —whether residential or commercial.
The announcements were made by Haryana Education Minister Ram Bilas Sharma after Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar chaired a Cabinet meeting here. Two ministers, Capt Abhimanyu and O P Dhankar, were not present in the meeting as they were in Jind for the last rites of Capt Pawan Kumar, who was killed in the encounter in Kashmir.
As the Cabinet meeting was going on, fresh incidents of violence were reported from various parts of the state, resulting in more deaths. Ram Bilas Sharma said 16 deaths were reported till Sunday, and three more casualties reported from Sonepat on Monday.
According to a senior police officer, protesters clashed with armed forces near Munak Canal in Sonepat’s Gadsoli village. “Armed forces opened fire at the mob, resulting in death of at least three people. At least seven others sustained pellet injuries,” the officer said.
Clashes also took place between the security forces and protesters in Meham, Rohtak, where a mob torched a Sub-Divisional Magistrate’s official vehicle.
Although state highways opened to some extent, traffic could not be restored on Chandigarh-Delhi railway stretch and on NH-1. Sixty-five companies of central armed police forces and 10-12 Army columns are currently deployed in the affected districts. CRPF Director-General Prakash Mishra said the paramilitary force had taken control of Munak Canal and partly restored supply.
The CRPF has deployed 47 companies in Haryana and two companies in UP and is engaged in clearing “lines of communication” such as blocked roads and traffic in Haryana. CRPF sources said Jat protesters have dug trenches — some as deep as six feet — on national and state highways between Rewari and Rohtak, Bahadurgarh and Rohtak and Rohtak and Jhajjar to stop movement of forces. —With inputs from ENS, Delhi