In a bid to placate the politically dominant Jat community in Haryana, the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) government has so far decided to withdraw as many as 398 cases registered in connection with the violence, which broke out during a Jat quota agitation in February 2016.

Speaking to reporters, additional chief secretary (home) SS Prasad said of the 398 cases recommended for withdrawal so far, 137 were withdrawn before June 2017 and 81 before 5 February. “After that (5 February 2018), we have recommended for withdrawal of 180 cases registered during the Jat agitation,” he said.

Prasad said that the cases have been withdrawn after getting them examined at the district level and getting reports from the concerned police and law officers. The final decision on actually withdrawing the cases against the agitators lies with the respective courts, he said.

Most of these cases pertain to rioting, unlawful assembly, wrongful restraint and obstructing a public official from discharging duty.

The Haryana government has been under pressure from the Jat community to withdraw criminal cases against 822 people who were booked for violence in 11 districts of the state during the Jat agitation.

As the Assembly polls are due in the state in 2019, the move to withdraw the cases is being linked BJP’s attempt to appease the Jat community. The government, however, maintains that no case, pertaining to heinous crimes like murder, was being withdrawn.

Over 30 people lost their lives, more than 260 were injured and property and assets worth hundreds of crores were damaged during the agitation-related violence that brought the state to a standstill for nearly a fortnight.

All India Jat Aarakshan Sangharsh Samiti (AIJASS) President Yashpal Malik had threatened to disrupt the motorcycle rally of the BJP president in Jind on February 15.

Following this, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar had held meeting with a Jat delegation, led Malik and promised withdrawal of cases registered in connection with the violence, which broke out during a Jat quota agitation.