Jat agitation: Haryana Jats get ready for Balidan Divas, BJP on their line of fire
Haryana is on the boil with its powerful Jat community once again resorting to an agitation. The Jats have been protesting peacefully across the state since 29 January in support of their demands for reservation and the fallout of last year's agitation.
Having rejected the offers made by the Manohar Lal Khattar government for talks, the agitating Jats have decided to announce their future course of action on Sunday (today).
The day is being observed as 'Balidan Divas' by the agitators to mark the deaths of 30 people who were killed during the violent agitation last year.
The dimension of the present agitation is not confined to Haryana alone. The Jat leaders claim that the ramifications are going to be long term.
Hitting where it hurts?
President of Akhil Bharatiya Jat Aarakshan Sangharsh Samiti (ABJASS) Yashpal Malik told Catch, “We have a two-pronged approach. One is political in nature and the second is more focused on the demands that need to be addressed through administrative interventions.”
He disclosed that on the political front, the Jats have sent across a strong political message to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP by politically opposing their candidates in Uttarakhand, Punjab and western Uttar Pradesh (UP) in the state Assembly polls.
The Jats had constituted 125 teams for UP alone while there were teams also for Uttarakhand and Punjab. Their strategy was simple. They want to ensure the defeat of the BJP candidates by voting tactfully in support of candidates from other parties who are the main challengers to these BJP candidates.
Malik further said, “Three months down the line there is going to be the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) polls where we will do the same. The presence of Jats in the national capital cannot be ignored. We constitute 15% of the voters there.”
To add to Khattar regime's headaches, the followers of a controversial preacher Rampal have also offered their support to the agitating Jats.
Taking on the Khattar government
Thirty people had lost their lives while more than 300 had been injured during the arson and violence in the state last year over the Jat demands for reservation in educational institutions and government jobs.
The agitating Jats would now announce their future course of action at Jassia village in Rohtak where they are expecting a gathering of several lakhs on Sunday. Jassia has emerged as the epicentre of the protests as hundreds of vehicles continue to bring Jats to the spot.
One of the main demands of the Jats at present is that the government drop the murder and the attempt to murder charges against youths booked for the violence last year. They have been pointing that if cases can be dropped against the agitators in Kashmir then why not in Haryana as well?
However, the core demand remains for reservation. Malik said that the act framed by the state government for providing them reservations is misleading and wrong and is bound to lose the legal scrutiny.
The Jats are also demanding compensation and jobs to the kin of those killed last year and are also seeking compensation and treatment for those injured in the violence.
They have also been demanding that the BJP take action against its Kurukshetra MP Raj Kumar Saini who continues with a verbal diatribe against the community and its demand for reservation.
On the political level, they have been attacking the Khattar regime for its partisan approach in ordering CBI probe into the attacks on the houses and properties of the BJP leaders and ministers while ignoring the attacks on the leaders of other parties.
The Jats are also demanding action against officials who lodged frivolous and false cases against Jat youths during the agitation.
(Not) Talking it out
Meanwhile, the Haryana BJP president Subhash Barala has once again underlined that the doors of the state government are always open for talks on the issue of Jat reservation. He said that the BJP government is serious about the demands of the Jat community and the matter has been strongly advocated in the court. Barala added that the government has already made up its mind to get the law inserted in the Ninth Schedule of the Constitution once the court gives a favourable verdict.
After visiting the dharna site at Charkhi-Dadri with Badhada MLA Sukhwinder Mandhi and other local leaders, Barala said that Khattar had, at a meeting held at Gurugram on 16 February, apprised the party workers about the state government’s stand on the Jat agitation and directed them to visit dharna sites.
After meeting representatives of the Jat community at the dharna site, Barala said that after Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Delhi, the BJP had granted reservation in Haryana whereas the previous governments never granted reservation to the community in the last one-and-a-half decades.
He picked this occasion to hit out at former Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda saying the latter had intentionally not followed the right procedure while granting reservation to the Jat community and had left it half-baked so that the new government faced problems. But after formation of the BJP government in the state, a bill on Jat reservation got unanimously passed in the state Assembly.
Barala has also stated that the state government would take a decision to lawfully withdraw the cases registered during the Jat agitation last year.
Edited by Jhinuk Sen