Army called in as Jat stir violence rocks Haryana, curfew in 2 districts
— Shabab Khan
Protesters surrounded a vehicle while it tried to cross the signal which was blocked by them.
Army was called in on Friday in nine districts of Haryana and curfew was imposed in two districts along with shoot-at-sight orders as three people died and 18 were injured during the Jat protest for quota which turned violent with mobs resorted to widespread violence.
Haryana agreed to bring a bill declaring Jats and four other castes as backward communities amid the violent protests to get reservation in government jobs.
“The draft bill would be framed after taking suggestions and consultation with Jat leaders and all leaders of all the political parties,” said chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar after an all-party meeting.
Meanwhile, the city remained under siege for the sixth day on Friday as protests turned progressively more violent with a counter-protest erupting against the Jats, essentially dividing the city into two parts — while Jats controlled areas from Delhi Road to Subhash Chowk, the other communities took control between Chhotu Ram Chowk and Hisar Road.
An official spokesman told PTI that curfew was imposed with immediate effect on Friday night in view of protesting mobs going on rampage and indulging in violence.
Addressing a press conference in Chandigarh, Haryana director general of police (DGP) Yashpal Singhal said firing started from the mob’s side and troops of the Border Security Force (BSF) fired in retaliation. He claimed that no shots were fired by the police.
Read| Haryana government extends olive branch, but Jats firm on stir
“One security guard also received bullet injury; I am taking stock of the situation,” said Rohtak superintendent of police Saurav Singh.
The counter-protest was carried out by members of around 35 communities, including the Balmikis, who are opposed to quota for Jats. Cars, bikes and state transport buses were seen burning across the city, while road and rail traffic remained crippled and educational institutions remained shut in many places.
The residence of finance minister Capt Abhimanyu on Delhi road was set on fire, when the minister and his family were not at home. A mob also attacked the residence of the Rohtak inspector general of police and damaged the Agro Mall building on the Delhi road, besides torching a police post at Dhigal in the neighbouring district of Jhajjar.
DGP Singhal said the army had been requested for nine districts, namely Rohtak, Jind, Jhajjar, Bhiwani, Hissar, Kaithal, Sonepat, Panipat and Karnal. The Rohtak column had moved as of filing this report, while others were ready to proceed.
Jat leaders earlier on Friday refused to withdraw their agitation till legislation was passed giving quota to the community under the Other Backward Classes (OBC) category even though the state government had assured of including the community in the quota for economically backward persons (EBP) of general castes and also increasing the EBP quota from 10% to 20%.
The protesters in Rohtak accused the chief minister of resisting their demand as he was “not from the community”.
“We are not going to withdraw our agitation till our demand is met. We will intensify our agitation in other parts of the state, including Panchkula and Yamunanagar,” All India Jat Aarakshan Sangharsh Samiti’s national president Yashpal Malik said.