Haryana remains tense, 8 dead; Jat leaders demand ordinance, Hooda to start indefinite hunger strike

Situation in Haryana continues to remain tense with escalated violence in several areas claiming eight lives so far and the state government deploying more forces with the help of Centre to bring back normalcy after the agitating Jat leaders rejected Chief Minister ML Khattar’s appeal for peace.

Updated: Feb 21, 2016, 07:24 AM IST
PlayHaryana remains tense, 8 dead; Jat leaders demand ordinance, Hooda to start indefinite hunger strike

Rohtak/Chandigarh: Situation in Haryana continues to remain tense with escalated violence in several areas claiming eight lives so far and the state government deploying more forces with the help of Centre to bring back normalcy after the agitating Jat leaders rejected Chief Minister ML Khattar’s appeal for peace.

Refusing to call off the quota agitation, several Jat leaders demanded the Haryana government to promulgate an ordinance to include the community in the OBC category if it wanted peace and normalcy in the state.

 

The response came after CM Khattar released a statement saying that his government has "accepted" their demands, but did not elaborate.

The leaders also demanded that a compensation of Rs 50 lakh be given to the kin of the person killed in firing on Friday and a government job to one of his family members.

 

All India Jat Aarakshan Sangarsh Samiti's national president Yashapal Malik said, "We will not withdraw our agitation unless the state government brings an ordinance for giving reservation to Jats.”

Meanwhile, hooligans set on fire government and private property and vehicles, blocking roads and highways, disrupting trains and uprooting tracks and indulging in looting on Saturday.

Curfew was imposed in Hisar, Sonipat and Jind towns after violence. Violence was also reported from Kaithal.

The death toll in the violence in past 36 hours has reached eight with over 100 people being injured. One person was killed when soldiers opened fire on an unruly mob in Jhajjar.

 

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and NSA Ajit Doval discussed the deteriorating law and order situation in the state in New Delhi.

While Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar appealed to protestors to stop the violence and his party BJP invited them to hold talks with the party's central leadership, his predecessor Bhupinder Singh Hooda, of the Congress, said that he would start a hunger strike at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi from Sunday till the situation normalised.

The Indian Air Force conducted around 50 sorties on Saturday deploying Army columns in Haryana, where the agitation by Jat protestors is escalating.

The sorties were carried out throughout the night. Meanwhile, 13 army columns reached the site earlier on Saturday and assisted the administration in controlling the situation and 10 more columns were airlifted to respective destinations.

10 companies of para-military forces reached the area and 23 more companies were on their way to Haryana.

 

Protesters set several buses on fire in the Gohana bus stand in Sonipat district, 210 km from Chandigarh.

Mobs set a police station in Meham town on fire. A police station and a railway station was set on fire in Jind district, a 'dharamshala' (free hostelry) was set on fire in Jhajjar and buses were set on fire in Julana and Kaithal towns.

Buildings of revenue departments were also set on fire at some places.

The toll plaza on the Panipat-Rohtak highway was also set on fire by mobs, while protesters uprooted the Delhi-Ambala railway track at Rajlu Garhi in Panipat district, disrupting the crucial rail line which connects Delhi with north India and leaving hundreds of passengers stranded. Nearly 550 trains were either cancelled or diverted since the agitation began.

The Vita milk plant was set on fire in Rohtak and scores of shops were set afire in the town.

Curfew continued in Rohtak, Bhiwani and Jhajjar towns on Saturday but the violence did not stop. 

Haryana Director General of Police YP Singhal said that 129 cases have so far been registered against agitators and claimed that the situation improved on Saturday compared to Friday.

The agitation began as Jats demanded reservation for the community in government jobs and educational institutions.