Five people were killed when armed forces opened fire to quell violence as the Jat quota agitation in Haryana escalated and spilled over to other parts of the state on Saturday.
A Haryana government release said that five people were killed “when Armed Forces opened fire to quell arson and firing” by the protesters. Fifteen people, including security personnel, were injured in Rohtak and Jhajjar on Saturday, the release added.
As many as 15 companies of the India Reserve Battalion and Haryana Armed Police, three companies of paramilitary forces and two columns of the Army have already been deployed, the release said. At least 10 more columns of the Army are expected to arrive shortly.
As Haryana remained on the boil, the Army had to use choppers to reach parts of blocked Rohtak district even as several Haryana Roadways buses, seven railway stations, a police station and some buildings were torched by pro-quota protesters.
The civilian death toll mounted to seven since violence broke on Friday. One person was killed in firing on Friday and another person succumbed to injuries on Saturday.
The government was forced to impose curfew in five more towns, the latest one being Jind, Hisar and Hansi. Earlier on Saturday, curfew was imposed in Sonipat and Gohana towns of Sonipat district.
Curfew was clamped in Rohtak, Bhiwani and Jhajjar on Friday.
The Army staged a flag march in many parts amid several incidents of loot and arson spreading panic and fear among residents.
Various districts of the state, especially in close proximity to the national capital, were cut off from the rest of the world with traffic disruptions at many places on major highways, including the Chandigarh-Ambala-Delhi highway.
Jat protestors remained defiant and came out with weapons in hordes blunting any attempt to restore peace in many areas. A petrol pump, a police station in Meham, a banquet hall and a railway station on the Jind-Panipat track were set on fire.
Protesters robbed a shop dealing with arms and ammunition.
There were also reports of rioters looting an ATM outlet.
A day after the house of finance minister was set on fire, the residence of state Agriculture Minister O P Dhankar on the Jhajjar-Rohtak road was stoned by angry protesters.
Jat leader Yashpal Malik, who is the president of the All India Jat Aarakshan Sangarsh Samiti, said they will not withdraw the agitation unless the state government brings an ordinance providing reservation to Jats.