Haryana: Jat stir continues peacefully

No untoward incident was reported and movement of traffic remained undisturbed across the state.

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Chandigarh, Feb 9: The ongoing jat reservation stir in Haryana, which entered its 12th day on Thursday, remained peaceful while modalities are being worked out by the government-appointed panel which is likely to engage in talks with the protesters soon.

File photo of last year's Jat reservation agitation

No untoward incident occurred anywhere and movement of traffic remained undisturbed. Modalities were being worked out for the talks, officials said in Chadigarh on Thursday. Additional chief secretary of home department, Ram Niwas, said all sections of the society have cooperated in maintaining peace.

He said a five-member committee has been constituted under the chairmanship of the chief secretary recently to hold dialogues with the agitators. The first meeting of the panel members was held on Thursday.

"Open invitation has been issued to all parties for dialogue. Whoever wants to interact with this committee can send their request to the office of the chief secretary, after which time and date of meeting would be decided," Niwas said, adding similar invitation had been issued through the media earlier as well.

Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar had recently indicated that the issues could be resolved through dialogue for which the government's doors are always open. The All India Jat Aarakshan Sangharsh Samiti headed by Yashpal Malik, which is spearheading the stir, has said it is willing to hold talks with the committee, though they have put a condition that these should be held in Rohtak or a place near where the protesters were holding sit-ins.

INLD, the main opposition party in the state, has come out in support of the agitating Jats this time and asked the government to meet their demands. The Jats have announced that February 19 would be observed as 'Balidan Divas' in memory of those who lost their lives during last year's agitation.

During the fresh round of the agitation, the protesters have been staging dharnas at various places in the state amid elaborate security arrangements. Paramilitary forces have been deployed in sensitive areas, while police are maintaining strict vigil.

During last year's stir, 30 people were killed and property worth crores of rupees was damaged at many places. Apart from reservations in education and government jobs, the demands of the Jats include release of those jailed during last year's agitation, withdrawal of cases slapped during the protest and government jobs for the kin of those killed and injured while taking part the stir.

There is also a demand of action against BJP MP from Kurukshetra, Raj Kumar Saini, for his alleged anti-Jat rants. The chief minister had earlier said the government had accepted the demand of Jats of giving jobs to the next of kin of those who had lost their lives during the stir last year.

Of the 2,100 cases registered during last year's violent stir, about 1,350 have been withdrawn and hearing is going on in the remaining ones.

PTI

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