The Delhi Police has declared Section 144 in border areas of Haryana and banned large gatherings in border districts as the Jat community members protest for quota in jobs and education in neighbouring Haryana. The decision was taken in the light of violence occurred in and around around Mukherjee Nagar and Najafgarh areas of Delhi in February.
“Delhi Police imposed CrPC section 144 in the bordering districts of Delhi and other parts of city which are likely to have protests in connection with Jat quota demand,” said a statement released by Delhi Police
“Adequate arrangements have been made to ensure no law and order issue occurs,” said an official.
The Munak canal that supplies most of Delhi’s water is being guarded by central troops. It was taken over by protestors for three days in February, leaving Delhi without water till the army retook control.
A 24-hour helpline (0172-2740390) has been set up in Chandigarh. Mobile internet and bulk SMSes have been banned in Sonepat and Rohtak.
Prohibitory orders banning large groups from gathering have been enforced in sensitive areas in Jhajjar, Sonepat, Rohtak, Panipat, Hisar, Fatehabad, Jind and Kaithal districts – and also near National Highways and railway lines. Agitating Jat community members had held demonstrations at several places in the city, leading to severe disruption of traffic on key arterial roads.
Over 7,000 troops of central security forces are helping the Haryana police patrol highways, railway tracks, important government offices and public places. The districts on high alert include Rohtak, Jhajjar, Sonipat, Jind, Bhiwani, Hisar, Fatehabad, Panipat and Kaithal.
Meanwhile Jat organisation accused the BJP of not keeping its word of giving reservation to the community in Haryana and asked its members not to vote for the NDA major in elections in the future until it changes its “anti-Jat” policy and offers quota as promised.
The All India Jat Aarakshan Sangharsh Samiti (AIJASS) which is leading the present agitation is protesting on the Rohtak-Panipat highway. The agitation this time is restricted to Jat dominant region including Jhajjar, Sonipat, Rohtak, Panipat, Hisar, Fatehabad and Jind.
Jat community members are demanding reservation under OBC category. Haryana government passed a bill giving OBC status to jats but was rejected by court. The protesters have said this time they will not block highways or railway lines and stay away from cities. However, they have warned of intensifying the agitation if their demands are not met.
In February, the Jat agitation had paralysed the state for nearly a week. Shops and malls were set on fire, transport was cut off, and according to some estimates, business worth $5 billion was lost.
Last month, Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar of the BJP led the effort to clear a new law that includes the caste as a beneficiary of affirmative action policies. But the Punjab and Haryana High Court had put the law on hold because it busts a prescribed cap of 50% on quotas.
February’s violence was investigated, on the orders of the government, by Prakash Singh, a former top police officer in Uttar Pradesh. His report, given to the High Court, has indicted senior cops and bureaucrats for dereliction of duty, in some cases because the officers were Jats themselves.