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Jat quota protests in Rajasthan districts called off

Chaturvedi led the negotiations with the Jats on behalf of the government.

Written by Hamza Khan | Jaipur | Updated: February 24, 2016 5:58:49 pm
Passenger trains going from Delhi to Haryana, Rajasthan, Punjab and Jammu have been affected. Jat community members torch motorcyles during their agitation for reservation in Rohtak on Thursday. (Source: Express Photo) Passenger trains going from Delhi to Haryana, Rajasthan, Punjab and Jammu have been affected. Jat community members torch motorcyles during their agitation for reservation in Rohtak on Thursday. (Source: Express Photo)

The agitation for reservation by the Jat community in Rajasthan’s Bharatpur and Dholpur districts, for inclusion in the state and centre OBC lists, was called off Tuesday evening after the state government gave them an assurance for the same.

“There were two major factions of Jats, both of whom have now called off the agitation,” Cabinet Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Arun Chaturvedi told The Indian Express. Chaturvedi led the negotiations with the Jats on behalf of the government.

“They had three demands. First was a visit of the OBC Commission — on the basis of which the government decides whether to extend reservation — to the two districts. The delegation will visit at the earliest. The second demand was to give the OBC Commission the status of a statutory body. We told them that we will pass a Bill to this effect in the upcoming Assembly session. And finally, they want the state government to raise the issue of inclusion of Jats in the Centre’s OBC list with M Venkaiah Naidu, under whom a committee has been constituted to examine the demands of Haryana Jats. We have agreed to that as well,” Chaturvedi added.

The agitation had begun Sunday but while the Jat Mahasabha had called off the protests Monday, the Nem Singh Faujdar-led Jat Arakshan Sangharsh Samiti had intensified the protests, alleging that the government was only giving “assurances”. Faujdar, however, has settled for the assurances.
“We have been assured that the government will complete all the formalities and introduce reservation for Jats of these two districts,” Faujdar told The Indian Express.

“We also demanded that no action be taken against any agitator and the government has agreed,” he added.

He said that Jats had also demanded starting ‘Surajmal Yojana’ — named after Maharaja Surajmal — for extension of scholarships and other benefits exclusively to children of Jats in Rajasthan. “We decided against pressing for it. We first want the government to work for our reservation,” he said. Surajmal Yojana is based on Devnarayan Yojana for Gurjars in Rajasthan, which has a slew of incentives for the children of Gujjars.

Mukesh Singh, the district president of Jat Mahasabha, expressed his satifsfaction with the government’s assurance and said “we would gather the relevant documents to assist the government in this regard”.

But despite tempers being cooled down following the government’s assurance, Tuesday morning witnessed pitched battle between the forces and the agitators, who tried to torch an engine of a goods train near Helak railway station.

“In the morning, there were several clashes between the police and the agitators, at at least six places on NH 11,” said IG Bharatpur Zone Alok Vashisht.

“The police had to fire some rounds in the air to disperse the agitators. At a few places, the police had to resort to using tear gas, while in Nadbai, Kumher and Deeg, the police had to resort to latchi-charge. The agitators also vandalised small railway junctions of Helak and Paprera, entering the cabin of the station master and the ticket counter,” he said. “A few dozen cases have been lodged,” he said.

Till late night, the police and the Jat leaders were busy in clearing obstructions on the roads in Bharatpur.

On Monday, Section 144 had been imposed in the district, while internet services were also banned and schools and colleges remained closed. While the imposition of Section 144 will be reviewed on Wednesday, the internet services were restored Tuesday.

Jats in Bharatpur and Dholpur had piggybacked on the Haryana agitation to press for reservation in the two districts. They were excluded from the state OBC list following a high court judgement in August last year and from the Central OBC list following the apex court’s order in March.

Hearing a bunch of petitions, a bench of Rajasthan High Court of Justice Sunil Ambwani and Justice Ajit Singh had struck down the reservation for Jats in these two districts in August last year.

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