BJP blinks, sets up panel on Jat quota

2 more killed as violence continues
Last Updated 21 February 2016, 19:50 IST

The BJP on Sunday acceded to Jats’ demands and announced that a five-member committee led by senior leader and Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu will examine the community’s demand for reservation.

At least two protesters were killed in firing by security forces on Sunday, taking the toll to 12. Incidents of violence, arson, clashes, road and highway blockages continued across the state throughout the day. However, there were signs of return of normalcy following the steps taken by the BJP.

Curfew lifted in 2 places
Curfew was lifted in Kaithal and Kalayat after protests in the two towns subsided following the announcement by the Centre. “The protesters have started clearing road blockades in many areas,” an official spokesman said.

After a meeting with Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Jat Sangharsh Samiti leader Jaipal Sing Sangwan and BJP general secretary in-charge of Haryana Anil Jail announced the setting up of panel and reiterated that the state government will move a bill in the Assembly to provide Jats the OBC status.

In Delhi, BJP president Amit Shah set up the panel led by senior minister M Venkaiah Naidu. A statement from the party said the members of the panel include Ministers of State Mahesh Sharma and Sanjeev Balyan, former Union minister Satpal Malik, Rajya Sabha MP Avinash Rai Khanna.

“The committee on Jat reservation would go into all issues and speak to all sections to prepare the report. It will be submitted to the BJP president and the Centre,” it said.
Rajnath Singh, who held a meeting with Union ministers Sushma Swaraj and Manohar Parrikar to take stock of the situation, said, “I appeal to the people of Haryana to help maintain clam and peace.”

Late in the night, the Meham Chaubisi khap, which represents 24 villages of Meham sub-division in Rohtak, announced that it will help bring back normalcy to the district.

"The forces have been asked to clear all the places where the protesters were squatting affecting communication network and water supply," a senior government official said.
Earlier in the day, the Army deployed choppers to survey trouble-torn areas.
A train engine was set on fire. A police post was burnt and a college was vandalised in Sonepat.

Rohtak, Bhiwani, Jhajjar, Jind, Hissar, Hansi, Sonepat and Gohana town of Sonepat district have witnessed largescale violence.

The Haryana government rushed paramilitary and technical team of the irrigation department to Akbarpur-Barota point in district Sonepat to ensure that the water supply to Delhi was not hit.

Several parts of the highway connecting the capital city Chandigarh to New Delhi were blocked by protesters.

Train traffic on routes between Chandigarh-New Delhi, Delhi-Rohtak, Delhi-Jammu and more have been suspended. There were reports that more than 1,000 trains have been cancelled since the beginning of the agitation.

DGP Y P Singal said the paramilitary forces, the Army and the state police conducted “night dominance” activities in many places throughout the night. He said the situation was under control.

More than 200 cases have so far been registered.

The Centre had provided 49 companies of paramilitary forces of which 39 companies have reached the state and 24 have already been deployed.
 As many as 69 columns of Army were deployed in trouble-hit areas.

(Published 21 February 2016, 19:42 IST)

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