PLANNING TO expand their agitation further, Haryana’s Jat leaders will gather at Jassia village in Rohtak district on Friday to announce their strategy. Amid the tough stand taken by protesters, Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Thursday met senior Jat leaders of the BJP apart from party workers in Gurugram to discuss the current scenario and possible way out to handle the stir and protesters.
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All India Jat Aarakshan Sangharsh Samiti (AIJASS) president Yashpal Malik again stressed on Thursday that they won’t hold talks with the authorities till conditions imposed by the government were not withdrawn. “Why don’t they withdraw fake cases? If they have any evidence, they should show it,” Malik told The Indian Express. “The talks should be with an open mind. Why the conditions?” he added. Malik was referring to the statement of Khattar in which he had indicated that cases under charges of murder and attempt to murder in connection with the February 2016 quota violence would not be withdrawn.
Currently, dharnas are being held in 19 districts and representatives from each of the dharnas will take part in the core committee meeting at Jassia village on Friday to decide the future course.
Meanwhile, Khattar on Thursday met BJP Jat leaders from Haryana, including Union Steel Minister Birender Singh, State Finance Minister Captain Abhimanyu, Agriculture Minister Om Prakash Dhankar, state BJP president Subhash Barala and Bhiwani-Mahendergarh MP Dharambir.
Leaders from other communities, including Transport Minister Krishan Lal Panwar, chief parliamentary secretary Dr Kamal Gupta and Sonepat MP Ramesh Kaushik also participated in the meeting.
The party leaders and workers from 10 districts – Jhajjar, Rohtak, Bhiwani, Charkhi-Dadri, Hisar, Jind, Sirsa, Kaithal, Sonepat and Panipat where the stir made the maximum impact – were called for the meeting. Khattar apprised them of the measures taken by the state government so far to grant reservation to the Jat community. The saffron party has become active after support by leaders of Indian National Lok Dal and Congress to the Jat quota stir.
After the meeting, Dhankar said the state government was open to talks with Jat leaders and they should place their demands before the government. “They (agitators) have open invitation from the government.”
In response to the demands of agitating Jat leaders, the agriculture minister said the state government had no objection to
providing financial help and jobs to family members of those killed during the agitation last year. He said the present BJP government had given reservation to the Jat community the way they wanted and their suggestions were accepted. Dhankar further said that the matter was challenged in court, after which advocate Jagdeep Dhankar was roped in to pursue the case. According to Dhankar, the state government has even urged the court for a speedy disposal of the case in view of the community’s expectation for a speedy disposal of the case in the Supreme Court.
Claiming that it was BJP, which had given reservation to Jats in Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi and Haryana, Dhankar criticised the Congress, saying it hurriedly gave reservation to Jats, without following due procedure of referring the matter to the National Commission for Backward Classes.
622 quota cases pending
Referring to the demand for withdrawal of cases filed during last year’s agitation, Haryana Agriculture Minister Om Prakash Dhankar has said that the state government has withdrawn nearly 1,500 cases till now and 622 are pending. The quota agitators are demanding withdrawal of all cases lodged in connection with the February 2016 quota stir violence.