Chandigarh: Jat protesters on Thursday rejected Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar's offer to enhance quota for economically backward classes with the agitation spreading to Faridabad, Kaithal and Karnal disrupting rail and road traffic.
In view of the blockades set up by the agitators, Haryana Roadways suspended its bus services on many affected routes.
The Jat continued to block roads in Rohtak-Jhajjar, the epicentre of the protests, disrupting supply of milk, vegetables, fruits and other items on the national highway connecting Rohtak with other parts of the state and NCR.
A day after holding talks with the Chief Minister, All India Jat Aarakshan Sangarsh Samiti's national president, Yashapal Malik told PTI that, "We reject the offer, it is not technically viable. It is illegal and cannot be implemented."
"We (Jats) cannot be befooled once again, we have been fighting for our right for several years now. The agitation has further spread to Kaithal, Faridabad, Karnal, Palwal today and by tomorrow, it will cover entire Haryana," Malik said.
Jat and Khap leaders had held a four-hour long meeting with Khattar and some of his ministers here yesterday during which the CM had announced enhancement of the reservation quota under EBC and the annual income ceiling from Rs 2.5 lakh to Rs 6 lakh.
The Chief Minister had announced an enhancement of the quota of reservation for Economically Backward Classes in the state from 10 to 20 per cent, but the community remained adamant on their demand for reservation under OBC category.
The protests continued at other places including Sonipat, Bhiwani and Hisar. Malik said the Jats will fight for their rights and continue to protest till they get it.
"People (who do not belong to the Jat community) have also come out on the streets in support of our demand," Malik said when asked about the inconvenience caused to passengers and students due to the stir.
Lawyers, students and women have also joined the protests at various parts of the state.
The protesters are demanding reservation in government jobs and educational institutions under OBC category.
A Committee constituted under the chairmanship of the Chief Secretary to study all the aspects of the reservations for Special Backward Classes, will submit its report before the forthcoming budget session of state Assembly next month, Khattar had said yesterday.
The committee will consider all suggestions including bringing an appropriate bill in this regard, he had said.
Meanwhile, blockade continued on roads from Rohtak to Delhi, and roads to Sonipat, Jhajjar remained blocked while those leading to Hisar, Jind and Bhiwani were also affected.
Railway traffic on the Rohtak-Delhi section was affected due to the agitation, officials said, adding many trains had been cancelled or diverted through alternative routes.
Managements of private schools, which fall in the affected areas, have also declared holidays due to the stir while Maharishi Dayanand University also announced postponement of some of its undergraduate and postgraduate examinations that were scheduled to be held between February 17-22.
Meanwhile, a group of students Kurukshetra University students, who belong to the Jat community, held a demonstration in the campus today in connection with the reservation issue.
They held demonstration in front of Vice-Chancellor's office and raised slogans against the BJP-led state government.
Later, the students led a procession to Jat Dharamsala at Kurukshetra, where other members from the community joined them. They sat on 'dharna' on Kurukshetra-Pehowa road and blocked vehicular traffic.
Police diverted the traffic from Panorama chowk to Pehowa road via out-ring road from Jhansa road.