In Pics: Haryana burning as Jat agitation pushes state backward

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Sonepat, Feb 23: For a state promoting itself as an ideal investment destination under the 'Happening Haryana' banner, the violent events of the past 10 days arising out of the Jat community's agitation for job reservations have come as a rude setback.

Explained: All about Jat crisis in Haryana

Politics is now being blamed for the Jat agitation spinning out of control and creating an anarchy-like situation in more than half of the state that borders Delhi from three sides. Here are some pics of Jats protest that erupted in Sonepat district of Haryana on Monday, Feb 22:

In Pics: Jat agitation in Sonepat

Security personnel on Monday blocked the entry of protesters to the GT Road at Larsoli village in Sonepat. Sonepat, Rohtak, Jhajjar, Bhiwani and Hisar have been the worst-hit districts of the ongoing Jat stir.

In Pics: Jat agitation in Sonepat

Five persons were booked for blocking the national highway, pelting stones at police personnel and damaging government property to demand quota for Jats, police said on Monday, Feb 22.

Haryana in bits and pieces

Besides Sonepat, fresh incidents of arson and violence erupted in several districts including Rohtak, Kaithal and Hisar.

In Pics: Jat agitation in Sonepat

Sonipat Deputy Commissioner Rajiv Rattan said personnel of Army, paramilitary forces and the police who were trying to clear a road blockade in the district were attacked by the mob which pelted stones on them and also used lathis. Some security pesonnel were also injured.

In Pics: Jat agitation in Sonepat

The latest incident came within hours after two columns of the Army comprising around 150 personnel, besides CRPF and Haryana Police contingents took control of the Munak canal on Monday from protesters who had cut off the water supply to Delhi, from Akbarpur-Barota in Sonepat.

In Pics: Jat agitation in Sonepat

Fresh firing took place on Monday afternoon in Sonipat district as Jats blocked the Delhi-Ambala national highway (NH-1), hours after traffic on it was restored.

In Pics: Jat agitation in Sonepat

Thousands of people and vehicles were stranded on NH-1 in the past three days as the Jats laid siege to the highway in Sonipat and Panipat districts, cutting off road connectivity to Haryana, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Chandigarh.

In Pics: Jat agitation in Sonepat

The Haryana government on Monday decided to give full compensation for the damage caused to private property in the state during the violent Jat reservation agitation.

Haryana burns to ashes

As violence continued unabated in Haryana, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday took stock of the prevailing situation in the state with top officials, including NSA Ajit Doval, Army Chief General Dalbir Singh Suhag besides others.

Although no names are being taken openly as to who could have incited the mobs to indulge in the free-for-all violence, it is evident the whole scenario has unfolded into a Jat-versus-non-Jat tussle.

While the state's first BJP government, which came to power with a clear majority in October 2014, has a non-Jat chief minister in Manohar Lal Khattar, opposition parties like the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) and the Congress are dominated by Jat leaders.

Within the BJP too, Jat leaders have tried to dictate things.

The Jat community, politically dominant in Haryana since the state was born on November 1, 1966, forms 29 percent of its nearly 2.55 crore people. Although most Jats are land owners and better off than other communities, the community has been demanding reservation under the OBC (Other Backward Class) category.

In the past also, the Jat community has agitated for reservation, but it never got out of hand, causing loss of hundreds of crores of rupees to the government and people and leading to so much inconvenience for everyone in Haryana and beyond.

The Congress-led UPA government had notified reservation for the Jats just before the April-May 2014 Lok Sabha polls. The Supreme Court in July 2015 quashed the notification. The BJP government in Haryana has since moved the apex court to seek a review.

The present Jat agitation started on a small note in Mayyar village in Hisar district earlier in February when a section of Jats blocked a railway track. The Khattar government assured them that the reservation demand would be looked into.

Just a day after that blockade was lifted, fresh trouble brewed in Rohtak, Bhiwani and Jhajjar districts with leader-less Jats coming out on the streets in large numbers and blocking roads and railway tracks.

Within three days, the protest went out of control with mobs of youth engaging in vandalism and arson.

The rampage began in Rohtak, Bhiwani and Jhajjar districts. The frenzy soon spread to Sonipat, Panipat, Hisar, Kaithal, Jind, Kurukshetra and elsewhere. Scores of shops were looted and set on fire. Government and private buildings were damaged or torched. Numerous buses and scores of private vehicles were targeted by arsonists.

The Khattar government was found wanting in dealing with the situation initially.

The image the violent agitation has created for Haryana has made it 'happening' for all the wrong reasons. Investors, be it from within the country or from other countries, are unlikely to feel encouraged by the scenario.

OneIndia News

(With IANS inputs)

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