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Jat quota stir continues, INLD lends support

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Chandigarh: The fresh phase of Jat quota agitation continued in various parts of Haryana for the tenth consecutive day today with the opposition INLD lending support and party’s senior leader Abhay Chautala said he will meet the agitators tomorrow.

The state remained peaceful and no untoward incident was reported, officials said here.

Chautala, Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly, today said his party favours that reservation given to Jats and five other communities should be maintained.

He that tomorrow he will visit Rohtak, Jhajjar, Jind and Kaithal districts of the state, where agitating Jats have been holding dharnas for the last ten days in support of their demands.

“Right from the beginning, we doubted the intent of the government in giving reservation to Jats and five other communities, which is why the matter has got stuck in the courts,” Chautala said in a statement.

Talking abut the agitation, Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar today said the issue could be sorted out through mutual dialogue.

He said that administrative officers have started dialogue with the agitators and it is appreciable that they are prepared for talks.

“Earlier, a meeting with their leaders was fixed for June 15, but now it would be held on June 17 on request made by them,” Khattar told reporters.

He said with regard to reservation, an Act was enacted.

“Though the issue is with the High Court, efforts are being made to get the stay vacated,” Khattar said, adding the state government was vigorously defending the case in the court.

The chief minister said the government has also offered the organisations involved in the current agitation that if they intended to hire their lawyer for pleading the case in the court, the state government is ready to pay the fee.

He reiterated that the government is making best efforts with honesty to get the issue resolved.

Activists of All-India Jat Aarakshan Sangarsh Samiti (AIJASS) have been staging dharnas at various places, mostly in Rohtak, Sonepat, Jind and Hisar districts in support of their demands for last several days, with some activists even sitting on fast unto death at some places.

Three months after their violent agitation left 30 people dead Jat leaders, owing allegiance to AIJASS, have been holding the dharnas at various places amid tight security by the BJP government which had drawn severe flak over its handling of the quota agitation in February.

Nearly 20,000 security personnel including approximately 6,000 personnel of the Central forces are keeping a strict vigil on the Jat agitation this time to ensure no violence takes place.

A special round-the-clock control room has been set up in Chandigarh to monitor the situation.

The protesters are demanding quota under the OBC category, withdrawal of cases registered against community members during the previous stir in February, status of martyr for those killed and jobs for their next of kin, besides compensation to the injured.

After the agitation, the state government recently brought in laws to provide reservation for Jats and five other communities under a newly carved Backward Classes (C) category.

However, the high court stayed it, acting on a public interest litigation, after which some Jat groups announced the fresh stir.

—PTI

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