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Caste-based rallies: Haryana tense, additional forces sought from Centre

Shiv Rawal | Chandigarh |

In view of scheduled rallies by Jat and non-Jats communities in Haryana on Sunday, the state government has sought additional force from the Centre government to maintain law and order situation, as tension prevailed in many parts of the state ahead of two caste-based rallies.

Speaking to The Statesman, Haryana Director General of Police (DGP) BS Sandhu said, “We have requested the Centre for additional force. Let’s see how many companies we are given, though we have the adequate force to maintain law and order.”

“Highways have been cleared and no untoward incident has been reported so far”, he said.

Notably, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Kurukshetra MP Raj Kumar Saini, who is opposing quota for Jats, had announced a Samanta Maha Sammelan in Jind on 26 November, while the Akhil Bharatiya Jat Aarakshan Sangharsh Samiti (ABJASS) national president Yashpal Malik has also announced a rally in Rohtak’ s Jassia village on the same day.

Whereas, Saini’s rally has been opposed by the members of Jat community in Jind, Malik’s event has also witnessed protests in Rohtak by the community members, who were earlier jailed in connection with the quota stir, last year.

Keeping in view of the possibility of violence during the protests, the Haryana police has also cancelled the leave of its personnel for the day.

In an order issued by the DGP Sandhu it has been directed that all the officers of Police headquarter, all executive staff posted with them, all branches along with key personnel of their branch, shall remain present in the office on Sunday.

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

According to the official order mobile internet service will remain 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 has fixed his rally in Jind, a Jat heartland in Haryana, while Malik has 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, private properties were damaged and set on fire.