Jats agitation: Govt refuses to release protesters

Jat protesters in the district blocked all roads and rail links to Delhi, Punjab and Rajasthan after authorities rejected their demand of release.

Hisar: Intensifying their stir, Jat protesters in the district on Friday blocked all roads and rail links to Delhi, Punjab and Rajasthan after authorities rejected their demand for unconditional release of all those arrested during the agitation to press for reservation under OBC category.
As the deadline for releasing the leaders lapsed this afternoon, tension prevailed in the district with protesters refusing to cremate the body of the youth, Sandeep, who was killed in clashes between police and protesters on March 6, till their demands are met.
Amit Aggarwal, Deputy Commissioner, said there was no move by the government to release the arrested Jat leaders and warned of strict action against those damaging public property.

The district administration has now closed all government and private schools in Hisar, 155 kms from the national capital, till March 10 as a precautionary measure.

However, the board examinations at different centres in Hisar would as be scheduled, an official spokesman said. The agitators blocked Hisar-Delhi National Highway near power grid of village Mayyare.

"Sandeep`s last rites will be performed only when our leaders are released from jails. We had given time till 1 PM today. There will be no dialogue with the government till our demands are met. We have decided to intensify the agitation
and shall block all roads and railway lines as would be possible for us," Suresh Koth, a Jat leader, told reporters.

Police have registered a murder case against officers and jawans of Rapid Action Force on the complaint of Karamvir Singh, uncle of Sandeep. Train services on Hisar-Delhi and Hisar-Ludhiana routes remained disrupted today also.

A meeting of 26 members committee of different Khap Panchayats of Haryana held at Jind presided by Nafe Singh Nain, President of Binain Khap, demanded release of all persons who have been arrested in connection with the Jat agitation.

The committee appealed to Jat agitators to maintain peace during agitation and to the administration not to commit excesses while dealing with the protesters.

The appeal came as authorities arrested five more persons under Indian Railway Act, Arms Act and several sections of IPC and produced them in a local court which sent them to judicial custody.

With this, the total number of arrests has risen to 74 . Several persons of Kanhakhera village in Jind district also blocked traffic on Jind-Tohana link road in support of the demand for reservation to Jats.

Haryana Director General of Police, Ranjiv Dalal, who is camping in Hisar for the last three days, today appealed to protesters and Sandeep`s family to perform his last rites.

He said some outsiders were misguiding the local people. Dalal said that the police had exercised restraint and the agitators should not consider it as the weakness of the police.

With a view to maintain peace, adequate number of personnel of CRPF, ITBP, paramilitary forces and Haryana police have been posted in the area Hisar has been virtually under a siege of the protesters as they have paralysed rail traffic for the past 20 days.

On Thursday, the protests by Jats spread to other parts, including Fatehabad and Panipat. A police post in Hisar was torched by the protesters on Wednesday, while a judge`s car was burnt on Tuesday.

Protesters had also stormed the premises of Power Grid Corporation following the death of the youth in alleged police firing, prompting the authorities to seek Army`s help.