Jats postpone stir in national capital by 15 days after government promises reservation
Twelve metro stations in central Delhi will be shut down at 8 pm tonight and the entry of people into Lutyens Delhi will be strictly vetted from 11 pm onwards Photograph: (ANI)
The Jat community of India's northern state Haryana has called off plans to hold a peaceful demonstration by 15 days in New Delhi tomorrow after talks with the central and state government.
Haryana chief minister ML Khattar said his government and the central government will soon begin the process of giving Jats reservation, or the Indian term for affirmative action.
He said the reservation process at centre will begin after the appointment of a chairman and members of the National Commission for Backward Classes.
"The government will now work according to the law and will undertake a survey and check ground realities so that the decision that we finally take will stand in court," PP Chaudhary, Minister of State for Law and Justice said.
"The reservation process will expedite after appointment of National Commission of Backward Classes (NCBC) chairperson and we want to ensure reservation for the community which is not stuck anywhere due to legal issues," he added.
The talks were held between the Haryana chief minister, Yashpal Malik, chairperson of the All India Jat Aarakshan Sangharsh Samiti (AIJASS) which is spearheading the agitation, and Union Cabinet Ministers Birender Singh and PP Chaudhary who both are Jats.
Yashpal Malik was accompanied by a group of 60-70 representatives of various khaps (sub-sects) of the Jat community.
"Centre and state will soon begin the process of giving reservation, following the Delhi High court order," Khattar told reporters in a joint press conference with Yashpal Malik.
He also appealed to people in the state to cooperate in maintaining peace and harmony.
Jat leader Yashpal Malik said the decision on further protests would be taken in a state executive meeting on March 26.
"Ab Jat Dilli na aa rahe (Now Jats are not coming to Delhi). We have called off our agitation and march towards Delhi. The state government has agreed to our demands," Yashpal Malik told the press after the meeting.
He added that the community will call off its dharna (demonstration) from most of the places in the state, barring few where it will continue with symbolic protests.
The Jats, who have for long been demanding reservations in government jobs and educational institutions, had threatened to march on the national capital tomorrow to press their demand.
The All-India Jat Aarakshan Sangarsh Samiti (AIJASS) had called on the Jats to gherao (encircle) Indian Parliament and to block entry points into the city.
Prohibitory orders had been clamped in Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan to stop the protesters from entering Delhi, with around 24,700 paramilitary personnel mobilised to maintain peace.
Metro and road transport was earlier curtailed and several schools have been closed in the national capital as a precautionary measure.
However, soon after the suspension of the stir, transport services were resumed in the city with restrictions on exit from a few metro stations.
Delhi Metro, buses & local trains will operate as usual. However, security arrangements will remain as they are: Special CP Dependra Pathak pic.twitter.com/loott7aivX— ANI (@ANI_news) March 19, 2017
No exit will be allowed from Patel Chowk,Central Secretariat,Udyog Bhawan & Lok Kalyan Marg stns tomorrow. However, entry will be allowed.— ANI (@ANI_news) March 19, 2017
Besides reservations in government jobs and educational institutions, the Jats are also calling for charges to be dropped against last year's agitators and that government jobs be given to the next of kin of the men killed in last year's demonstrations. Around 30 people were killed and more than 300 people injured when a similar agitation by the Jats had resulted in large-scale violence in Haryana in February last year.
A Haryana ministerial panel led by senior Minister Ram Bilas Sharma had held talks with the Jats in Panipat on March 16 after which the minister had said that an agreement had been reached with the community and the deadlock could end soon.
(WION with inputs from agencies)