Jat stir: Fresh violence breaks out in Haryana, death toll 16

Jat stir: Fresh violence breaks out in Haryana, death toll 16

Violence continued to rage in Haryana today with stone-pelting mobs attacking security personnel trying to clear a road blockade and torching government vehicles even as the death toll in the nine-day old Jat quota stir was put at 16.

As protesters continued to block some roads including the arterial Delhi-Ambala Highway, the Centre directed security forces to use force to clear blockades.

"The security forces were asked to use force to clear all the places where the protesters were squatting affecting communication network and water supply," a Union Government official said in Delhi.

The All India Jat Aarakshan Sanghursh Samiti (AIJASS) later in the evening announced lifting of its dharnas on national and state highways in view of the BJP setting up a committee under a Central minister to examine the quota demand for the Jat community.
Besides Sonipat, fresh incidents of arson and violence erupted in several districts including Rohtak, Kaithal and Hissar.

Sonipat Deputy Commissioner Rajiv Rattan said personnel of Army, paramilitary forces and the police who were trying to clear a road blockade in the district were attacked by the mob which pelted stones on them and also used lathis. Some security pesonnel were also injured.

"Yes, there are casualties, may be one or three, but I can't give any exact figure immediately," he told PTI.

The mob went berserk setting on fire government vehicles, indulging in vandalism and attacking the security forces, the DC said, adding there was tension in the entire area.

The latest incident came within hours after two columns of the Army comprising around 150 personnel, besides CRPF and Haryana Police contingents took control of the Munak canal at around 4 AM today from protesters who had cut off the water supply to Delhi, from Akbarpur-Barota in Sonipat.

Following fresh incidents of arson and violence, curfew was reimposed in five villages of Hansi sub-division, Hissar city limits and Kaithal. Curfew was imposed in five villages of the district and shoot-at-sight orders issued following a face-off between Jats and other community members.

Senior Haryana Minister Ram Bilas Sharma told reporters after a cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar that 16 people have died in the ongoing Jat agitation.

Making a fresh appeal for an end to the agitation, Sharma said a Bill will be brought in the coming Assembly session of on the Jat reservation issue.

When asked what will be the shape of the Bill, he said the date for the commencement of the assembly session was yet to be decided and did not elaborate on the details.

The Jat protesters also continued to block some roads including in Rohtak, Hissar and Bhiwani districts.

Road traffic on various national and state highways from Hissar to various destinations, including Delhi, Chandigarh, Sirsa, Siwani and Bhiwani remained suspended.

Railway traffic from Hissar to various destinations including Delhi, Ludhiana, Bhiwani and Sadulpur also remained suspended.

Haryana Government has announced a relief of Rs 10 lakh to family of each deceased. Besides, a government job will be given to a family member and no case against innocent would be registered, Agriculture Minister O P Dhankar said.

Efforts to reopen the crucial Delhi-Ambala National Highway failed today with protestors putting up blockade at several places between Panipat and Delhi. The highway connects Delhi with North India, including Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab.

As efforts were on to clear the blockade at Larsoli between Ganaur and Murthal, two other blockades were reported from Beeswan Meel near Rai and Kamaspur near Bahalgarh with protestors taking on the security personnel. The police had used force including lathicharge on the protestors at both the places.

Incidents of violence were also reported from Kaithal where also curfew was lifted last night, but reimposed today.

A large number of stick-welding protesters vandalized a mall and several shops in the violence-hit district today where army and police have been deployed.

Agitators also set afire a two-wheeler and vandalized some other vehicles in the district, officials said.

Later, several members from non-Jat community took out a protest march against the administration for its alleged failure in providing safety to their shops and commercial establishments.

They raised slogans against the administration.

A government vehicle belonging to local SDM in Meham in Rohtak district was set ablaze by protesters. Rohtak and other areas had witnessed major damage to public and private property after the Jat protest turned violent.

According to reports, blockades were also lifted in Kurukshetra and Jhajjar areas.
To clear the rush of passengers, the Railways ran a special train from Chandigarh to Delhi.

The train ran from Chandigarh to Anand Vihar station in Delhi and was diverted from Ambala on to Saharanpur route to reach the national capital since the mainline Ambala-Delhi rail route has still not been cleared for rail traffic, a Northern Railways spokesman said.  

The All India Jat Aarakshan Sanghursh Samiti, meanwhile, has decided to lift protest dharnas on various national and state highways in the state.

A meeting of the samiti was held this afternoon, its spokesperson Ram Bhagat Malik said.

The dharna at Mayyar village near here on the Delhi-Hisar railway track would continue.

"The Sampla Sanghursh Samiti would take a decision on lifting of the dharna at Mayyar," Malik said.

The meeting presided over by Samiti chief Yashpal Malik also demanded registration of a case against BJP MP from Kurukshetra Raj Kumar Saini "as he is responsible for the incidents of arson and violence".

His provocative statements against the Jat community during the past one year and the failure of the BJP to take action against him led to the present situation, it alleged.

Malik said that meeting also demanded registration of cases against all the officials responsible for the deaths of innocent persons during the Jat agitation.

The Samiti also demanded that all cases registered against Jat protesters during the current and previous agitations be withdrawn immediately, Malik said.

He said that a 51-member committee was also formed to look into the issue of Jat reservation during coming times. 

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