Jats sit on rail tracks, demand job quota

Rail, road traffic diverted; protest likely to intensify

The protest by Jats in Haryana to demand quota in government jobs likely to flare up. Hundreds of protesters of the Jat community on Monday geared up for another showdown with the government.

They squatted near railway tracks in Hisar, seeking withdrawal of 150 criminal cases that were registered against them last year during a similar three-week-long agitation.

Rail and road traffic to Delhi and nearby areas were diverted on several routes.

The All-India Jat Aarakshan Samiti, which is leading the protest, had given a 24-hour deadline for authorities to concede to their demand for withdrawal of cases.

As the deadline ended on Monday evening, protestors are likely to intensify their stir by sitting on railway tracks and even highways, disrupting traffic.

Hectic negotiations continued throughout the day to persuade community leaders to end the agitation. The logjam may take a while to be solved as many of the cases are now pending in courts.

Hisar saw an uneasy calm on Monday as hundreds of protestors squatted with bags on rail tracks at Mayar village near Hansi.

Dharampal Dhariwal, state president of the samiti, accused the government of merely
 giving lip service when it came to meeting their demands.

The Jats had led a three-week-long agitation in Jat-dominated districts of Hisar, Jind and Bhiwani in Haryana in March last year, seeking reservation for the community in government jobs under the other backward classes quota.

The stir was called off after chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda assured that the government would take up their case with the Centre.

Hooda then set up the Haryana Backward Classes Commission to look into the demands of the Jats. According to sources, the commission is considering the demands of Roar, Jat, Jat Sikh, Tyagi and Bishnoi communities, who want to be classified as backward classes in the state.

The threat to road and rail transport in the state has left the state government sleepless. In the last year’s agitation, women, children and even elderly persons did not budge an inch till an assurance from the CM came.

Protestors cooked and slept on railway tracks until they were assured of a settlement.
Trains cancelled Railway authorities on Monday cancelled some trains while a few others were diverted to other routes.

A railway spokesman said a decision to this effect has been taken following the agitation.
He said all trains on the Rewari-Fazilka section and Haryana Express train running between Sirsa and Delhi have been cancelled till further notice.

All trains coming from Bathinda were terminated in Hisar and trains coming from Rewari and Jaipur were stopped at Bhiwani.

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