Don't reward violent Jat agitators

The methods adopted by the Jat community proponents to press their case for Other Backward Class (OBC) quota benefit for Jats in Haryana are unjustified and unacceptable.
In the last four days, their violent ways held the state and the nation to ransom. The violence and flash agitation took the life of at least 16 innocent people, created a sense of discord between Jats and non-Jats, caused extensive damage to public property across the state, and disrupted normal life not only in Haryana but also in the neighbouring states of Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Punjab, Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh. This is no way to draw public attention and secure favourable decisions from the authorities concerned.

The situation, particularly on the law and order front, would not have deteriorated as rapidly as it did, if the state government under Manohar Lal Khattar had been watchful and sensitive. All reports pointed out that the Khattar government had ignored warning signals coming from several restive Jat caste groups for some time. Chief Minister Khattar’s political and administrative inexperience did not help. The fact that Khattar is the first non-Jat chief minister in almost two decades also did not aid his government’s ability to deal with the situation. The central leadership of the BJP too cannot absolve itself of the responsibility for the dramatic developments in the state. The Narendra Modi government at the Centre intervened late to counsel the state government, including in respect of the law and order. By the time the intervention came, the agitators had brought the state to a standstill. While it may be an easy way out of the tricky situation, the Centre and the state governments must avoid rewarding the violent meth-ods adopted by the agitators. More importantly, there are also issues that go beyond the immediate task of restoring public order. As it stands, the competitive claims and counter-claims by different caste groups in various states for a share in the quota pie is overwhelmingly politicised.

The quota issue has been a tool in the hands of crooked politicians to advance their career. Political parties too have exploited it for short-term gains. The nation and the society though pay a price. The ruling BJP and other major political parties must address this sensitive issue in non-partisan ways. Otherwise, such violent agitations as the recent Patel quota stir in Gujarat, the recurring Gujjar unrest in Rajasthan, the Kapu quota agitation in Andhra Pradesh etc, will become models for others to emulate, inflicting huge damage on the health of the nation.

Liked the story?

  • 0

    Happy
  • 0

    Amused
  • 0

    Sad
  • 0

    Frustrated
  • 0

    Angry