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Caste-based rallies end peacefully in Haryana, NH-71A open to traffic

SNS | New Delhi |

No untoward incident was reported during the two parallel caste-based rallies by All-India Jat Arakshan Sangharsh Samiti (AIJASS) president Yashpal Malik in Rohtak and Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) Member of Parliament (MP) Raj Kumar Saini in Jind on Sunday, according to media reports.

NH-71A Rohtak-Panipat highway, which was earlier closed due to security concerns, was later opened to traffic after parallel protests created a tense environment in the state.

Earlier, amid high security and suspended internet, transport facilities, several parts of Haryana remained on edge during the two rallies.

Jat leader Malik had showed strength at a rally in Rohtak, which was supported by the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) chief Abhay Chautala and Union BJP minister Birender Singh. The wrestling coach Mahavir Singh Phogat had also extended his support to the Jat quota demand.

AIJASS president Malik had also laid the foundation stone of an educational institute, being built exclusively for the Jat community in Jassia village in Rohtak. Supporters of self-styled godman Rampal also participated in Malik’s rally.

Earlier in the day, BJP MP Raj Kumar Saini announced the formation of a new party during his rally in Jind.

He said the decision to form a new party will be taken after consulting with all the supporters. Saini said a 31 member committee of his allies will look into the process of forming a new party. He also accused the INLD and Congress to take political advantage on Dadupur-Nalvi canal issue.

The people from Kurukshetra, Kaithal and other Saini community-dominated areas also reached at the venue of Saini’s rally in Jind.

The state government on late Friday evening had already suspended internet services on mobile networks in 13 districts for three days after imposing Section 144.

According to the official order mobile internet service remained suspended in Jind, Bhiwani, Hisar, Fatehabad, Karnal, Panipat, Kaithal, Rohtak, Sonipat, Jhajjar, Bhiwani and Charkhi Dadri until the midnight of 26 November.

A group of Jat youths seeking cancellation of Saini’s rally in Jind on Friday clashed with the police and blocked the Jind-Chandigarh National Highway.

Following which, the police had to resort to mild lathi-charge to disperse the protesters.

Saini who is known for his anti-Jat rants had fixed his rally in Jind, a Jat heartland in Haryana, while Malik had chosen Rohtak, another stronghold of Jats for his rally-cum-ground-breaking ceremony of a coaching institute.

Malik had spearheaded agitations in Haryana thrice in 2010, 2012 and 2016 seeking Other Backward Classes (OBC) quota for Jats.

In February, 2016, the state had witnessed massive violence during the Jat stir with nearly 31 people died while more than 200 injured. During the violence, government and private properties were damaged and set on fire.