Taking a cue from the Patidar agitation seeking OBC status, leaders of the Jat community are threatening a re-launch of their stir demanding similar eligibility for reservation in central jobs and education.
“We will hold a massive rally at Mayyar village in Hisar on September 13, which will mark a re-launch of our agitation. We have chosen that day as it coincides with the death anniversary of one of our activists, Sunil Sheoran, who was shot by the Haryana police in 2009,” Yashpal Malik, national president of the Akhil Bhartiya Jat Arakshan Sangharsh Samiti (ABJASS), told The Indian Express.
The Mayyar meet will decide on the future course of action. “We will take a call on how to take the movement to the next stage – whether through rail roko and national highway blockades or disruption of fuel and water supplies to the national capital. Water supply to Delhi is from the Gang Nahar regulator in Muradnagar and also Sonepat, while petrol and diesel come from the Panipat and Mathura refineries of Indian Oil Corporation. All these places are in the Jat belt,” claimed Malik.
Asked whether the move to re-launch their agitation was inspired by the ongoing Patidar protests, Malik said it was the other way round: “They saw how we had successfully blocked 15 rail lines from March 5 to March 26, 2011, and also stopped water supply from the Gang Nahar on June 13, 2010. Ours is the older agitation”.
The Jats are a dominant landowning community in western Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Rajasthan similar to the Patidars of Gujarat. “We are a socially and educationally backward community. Before Independence, we suffered exploitation because land was the main source of government revenue. Only from the late 1960s to the mid-1980s did we make some progress because of the Green Revolution. But since then, we have steadily fallen behind as crop yields have stagnated, landholdings have shrunk and agriculture has turned non-remunerative,” Malik said.
The Supreme Court in March scrapped the previous UPA government’s notification that included Jats in the central OBC list.