The Centre on Monday directed security forces to forcibly clear blockades in Haryana where an agitation for quota by Jats has cut-off the state from other parts of the country.
Government sources said a clear instruction has been given to security forces to help Haryana administration clear all blockades put up by the protesters. One of the priorities is to clear the NH-1 that connects Haryana, Punjab, Chandigarh, Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh. It has been blocked for last three days and the Centre has given top priority to clear this road. The rail link between Delhi and Ambala was affected while NH-10 connecting Haryana's Hisar, Jind and Rohtak with Delhi was also blocked.
The strong message to the central forces came as the government tried to battle out the perception that there was a break down of law and order situation in the BJP-ruled state.
With Parliament’s Budget Session beginning Tuesday, the opposition could use the agitation to target the government. Around 6,500 paramilitary forces besides Army columns are deployed in the state.
The blockade has also resulted in the skyrocketing of airfares with a Delhi-Chandigarh touching around Rs 17,000 and a Mumbai-Chandigarh fare touching Rs 23,000. However, the Civil Aviation Ministry said it “can only request” the airlines to keep the rates under check. Meanwhile, a panel led by Union Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu, which was appointed by BJP president Amit Shah, has started its work on thrashing out a solution to the vexed problem. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh also briefed Prime Minister Narendra Modi about the situation in Haryana.
The BJP leadership had on Sunday engaged Jat leadership and announced that a bill would be tabled in Haryana Assembly granting OBC status to Jats. With the Haryana Assembly’s budget session to begin on March 17, the panel headed by Naidu has a tight schedule. The panel would present the report to both the party leadership as well as the central government.
Naidu and other members of the panel would meet Jat leaders from Haryana and other states like Uttar Pradesh where Jats have a presence. They will also meet khap leaders. A senior BJP leader said they would be able to come up with a solution after engaging all sections.