18 policemen, news persons among 35 injured as Jat protesters clash with police

A Jat leader claimed that police had lobbed tear gas shells and tried to disperse them. Photograph:( AFP )

PTI Fatehabad, Haryana, India Mar 19, 2017, 10.14 AM (IST)

Eighteen police personnel, including an SP and a DSP, were among 35 injured Sunday when Jat protesters clashed with police on being prevented from marching towards Delhi.

The protesters also allegedly set fire to two police buses during the clash that took place in Dhani Gopal village on Sirsa-Hisar-Delhi national highway.

Fatehabad's SP O P Narwal, who sustained minor injury on his hand, said that 18 police personnel, including two women, were injured in the incident.

"A woman ASI and a woman Constable were among the injured police personnel.

"Three media persons have also suffered injuries. The protesters allegedly held them hostage for some time and damaged their equipment," he said.

A few protesters were also injured when police lobbed tear gas shells and resorted to lathicharge to disperse them.

The situation turned tense when Jat protesters from villages of Chamarkhera and Kheri in Hisar district tried to enter Fatehabad district to join dharna at Dhani Gopal.

Tractor trolleys carrying Jat protesters, some of whom were allegedly brandishing lathis, tried to breach police barricades.
DSP Gurdial Singh, who was deputed at the barrier, requested them to go on foot and join the dharna peacefully but the protesters did not relent, Narwal said.

Some agitators pelted the police party with stones. Retaliating, policemen resorted to lathicharge.

The protesters then torched two police buses.

Narwal suffered injury on his hand. DSP Gurdial Singh, Inspector Kuldeep, ASIs Sadhu Ram, Sohan Lal, Major Singh, Daya Ram and Krishan were among those hurt, he said.

The DSP and the Inspector have been hospitalised, SP Narwal said.

More police force was called in to control the situation.

Narwal told reporters that "the situation is under control. At the barrier, we did not allow tractor trolleys from Hisar to enter our district. Instead of accepting our request, they started hurling stones at police and the situation turned tense. Some protesters even wielded lathis."

The protesters also scuffled with media persons. They allegedly snatched their mobile phones and other equipment, deleted videos and photos of the incident from their cameras and damaged the devices.

The news persons later filed a complaint with police, demanding action against Jat agitators. 

Two Fatehabad-based journalists working with regional dailies and another from a TV news channel were allegedly held hostage by the agitators and their belongings were snatched.

One of the news persons claimed that when protesters clashed with police, they ran and took refuge in a police bus where some cops were already present. The agitators then attacked the bus with stones before setting it afire.

He claimed that when they somehow came out of the bus, the protesters captured them, took them to a house in the fields and beat them up. The villagers got them freed after some time.

A Jat leader claimed police lobbed tear gas shells and tried to disperse them when they were marching in a peaceful manner.
A few protesters were injured in the incident, he claimed.

In the evening, Jats called off their scheduled march for tomorrow in the national capital, following a truce that was reached after a meeting between the leaders of the community and the Haryana government.

Prohibitory orders under Section 144 of CrPC had earlier been imposed and internet services suspended in many sensitive districts of Haryana including in Rohtak, Jhajjar, Sonepat and Kaithal.

The All India Jat Aarakshan Sangharsh Samiti, which is spearheading the ongoing quota stir, had earlier threatened that it would lay siege to the national capital tomorrow after which security forces were put on high alert in several districts including those bordering Delhi.

A complete ban on the movement of tractor trolleys on highways and roads in sensitive districts had been imposed by the authorities.

Violence during the agitation last year had left 30 people dead and government and private property worth hundreds of crores of rupees was damaged.