Chandigarh: With the Jat agitation showing no signs of let up, the BJP government in Haryana on Saturday said it has "accepted" the demands of the community which is seeking quota under OBC category.
Appealing to protesters to end their stir, Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar in a statement here this afternoon asked agitators to "return to their homes as the Government has accepted their demands", but did not elaborate.
After an all-party meeting here yesterday, the Chief Minister had said "a way will be worked out to give reservation to Jats."
Jats have been demanding quota in jobs and educational institutions under OBC category. The agitators today demanded a "written assurance from the government", saying they "cannot be befooled with hollow promises every time".
As the Jat protest turned violent leading to the death of one person yesterday and spread to various parts of the state, Khattar today said nothing can be gained by damaging public property.
"No one will be benefited by damaging public property. Therefore, those agitating and the youth should maintain peace in the state," he said.
He also urged people not to be swayed by rumours.
The Haryana CM also said the state government does not agree with the reported statements of BJP MP Raj Kumar Saini who had opposed any quota to Jats.
"No one should make such a statement which adversely affects the feeling of brotherhood," Khattar said.
Notably, Jats are miffed at the opposition of Kurukshetra MP Saini to Jat reservation. He had objected to giving reservation to Jats and had even threatened to resign if the OBC quota is affected. Army personnel could not enter Rohtak through road as
protesters had put up blockades on Delhi, Hissar, Rohtak, and Fazilka highways, forcing the authorities to airdrop them from helicopters, an official said.
In other incidents of arson and violence, vehicles were set on fire at Safidon (Jind) and a government office building set ablaze in Beri in Rohtak district.
A private college was vandalized in Bhiwani and the private security guard beaten up, police said, adding that an Ayurvedic dispensary was also set on fire.
A government vehicle was set on fire in Jhajjar district, a police Station in Uchana (Jind) vandalized by a mob, a motor cycle and two buses set ablaze in Kalayat (Kaithal) in Gohana (Jind) respectively.
A convoy of army, moving towards Rohtak from Hissar, was stranded near Madankheri subdivision late last night for an hour as protesting Jats had "dug up" a stretch of road as part of their pro-quota agitation. Army personnel then repaired the road and moved on towards their destination.
Normal life was crippled in Rohtak, the epicentre of the ongoing agitation, and Bhiwani in the wake of violence which broke out yesterday during the stir, and many other parts of the state with rail and road traffic hit, and shops and commercial establishment and schools remaining closed.
Sporadic incidents of violence and arson were reported at several places overnight despite authorities imposing curfew.
Haryana government had yesterday called the Army in nine districts while curfew was imposed in two districts along with shoot-at-sight orders after one person died and several others were injured during the Jat stir which turned violent with mobs resorting to widespread arson.
The Centre has also rushed 3,300 personnel of paramilitary forces to control the rampaging mob.
Agitating Jats squatted on the rail tracks in Gurgaon district today, affecting movement of trains.
A Jat protester in Gurgaon said community members want a "written assurance from the government this time. We cannot be befooled with hollow promises every time".
He said Jats did not believe in violence and it was "anti-social" elements who were indulging in such acts to defame the community and to derail their agitation.
Governor Kaptan Singh Solanki had to cancel his function in Gurgaon today, where he was to address a group of women, with an official saying the decision was taken in view of the situation prevailing in the state.
Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar earlier in the day made an appeal to the people to maintain peace and harmony.
"I appeal to all my fellow Haryanvis to maintain law & order in the State, and ensure that harmony is maintained in society," he tweeted.
Khattar had recently held talks with Jat and Khap leaders here, but these failed to bear fruit as the protesters remained adamant on their main demand of OBC quota in government jobs and rejected his announcement of enhancement of the quota of reservation for Economically Backward Classes in the state from 10 to 20 per cent.