A fresh round of talks between protesting Jats and Haryana government here today remained inconclusive as the community members remained adamant on their demands and said their stir will continue. The government’s five-member committee headed by chief secretary D S Dhesi held talks with Jat leaders for over three hours here and announced to constitute a four-member panel to resolve the issues, including withdrawal of cases registered during the last year’s stir.
All-India Jat Aarakshan Sangarsh Samiti (AIJASS) chief Yashpal Malik, who is spearheading the protest, said, “The agitation by Jats will continue till the demands are met.”
It has been decided that a four-member panel comprising two members each from the government and the Jats will be formed to resolve the matter, he said, adding the government representatives have agreed to raise compensation for those seriously injured during last year’s stir to Rs two lakh.
“The meeting was held for over three hours in two to three phases. Understanding has been reached between the Jats and government on two issues and peace will be maintained at all costs in the state,” Dhesi said.
He said the government has provided jobs to 25 next of the kins of those killed during the last year’s stir.
“The Jats wanted a permanent jobs for the next of kin of those killed in the violence and government will consider this after discussions with the newly set up panel,” Dhesi said.
The chief secretary said after the court verdict, the government will refer the Jats’ demand for reservation in government jobs and educational institutes to the Centre.
The first round of talks between the two sides, held on February 11, had also remained inconclusive.
Terming Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar as a “wise man”, Malik alleged that “a few persons within the BJP” want to “destabilise” him.
Yesterday, Khattar had said that the Jats’ demands will be fulfilled “within the scope of the law.”
Malik said February 26 will be observed as “Black Day” by Jats and the community members will wear black turbans and ribbons and arm bands to protest the government’s policies.
However, he said, “If all our demands are met before February 26 then we will call off our agitation.”
“From March 1, the protesters will not cooperate with the government. no one will pay power, water bills and instalment of loans that they owe to the government,” Malik said.
He had threatened that the stir will be intensified in Bhiwani, Jind, Kaithal, Panipat, Hisar, Karnal, Dadri, Kurukshetra, Mewat and Panchkula from March 1.
Malik said Jats from Delhi and Uttar Pradesh will protest in the national capital on March 2 and submit a memorandum on the quota issue to the President. They also plan to gherao Parliament, the date for which will be announced on March 2.
The AIJASS president has also appealed to the people to stop supply of milk to Delhi and a date in this regard will be announced later.
Meanwhile, the protest by Jats continued at different locations across Haryana, Malik said, adding “we are committed to maintain peace at all costs.”
Besides seeking quota in education and government jobs under Other Backward Classes category, the demands of the Jats include release of those jailed during last year’s agitation, withdrawal of cases slapped during the protest and government jobs for the kin of those killed and injured while taking part in the stir.
There is also a demand of action against BJP MP from Kurukshetra Raj Kumar Saini for his alleged anti-Jat rants.
The main opposition party in Haryana, the INLD, has openly come out in support of the agitating Jats this time and asked the government to meet their demands.
In view of the fresh Jat stir, paramilitary forces have been deployed in sensitive areas, while the state police is maintaining a strict vigil. Police are also keeping a vigil near the statues of various state icons in sensitive districts to thwart any act of vandalism.
As many as 30 people were killed and property worth crores of rupees was damaged at many places in Haryana during last year’s Jat stir which had turned violent. Rohtak and some of its neighbouring districts, including Sonipat and Jhajjar, were the worst hit by the violence.
The state had, in consultation with all stakeholders, last year enacted a law for providing reservation to Jats, Khattar had said, adding, “Now when the court has stayed it, the matter would have to be dealt with in a legal manner only.”
“The state government has appointed a senior advocate to plead the case in the court. Once the stay is vacated, the state government would request the Centre to include the Act (granting reservation to Jats and others) in the 9th Schedule,” Khattar said.
The government’s decision to grant reservation to Jats and five other communities in jobs and educational institutes under the newly created Backward Class ‘C’ category was challenged last year after a PIL was filed in this regard before the Punjab and Haryana High Court.
The PIL challenges the “constitutional validity” of The Haryana Backward Classes (Reservation in Services and Admission in Educational Institutions) Act, 2016, passed by the assembly on March 29 last year.
The Act provides for 10 per cent quota in Class III and IV posts and educational institutes and six per cent quota in Class I and II posts to Jats, Jat Sikhs, Rors, Bishnois, Tyagis and Muslim Jats in Schedule-III.
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