Haryana Jats end stir, start clearing railway tracks (Second Lead)

March 26th, 2011 - 3:07 pm ICT by IANS  

P. Chidambaram Chandigarh, March 26 (IANS) Members of the Jat community Saturday afternoon withdrew their three-week-long agitation for a job quota after the Haryana government gave a written assurance on their demand, a community leader said.

Railway tracks, blocked in several places across Haryana, are being vacated, Jat community leaders said Saturday.

“We are very happy with the outcome of the meeting with the government. Both, the state and central governments, have agreed to accept our demands. We are fully satisfied with the assurances given to us by Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda. We have got written assurance from the government,” Hawa Singh Sangwan, president of the Haryana Jat Arakshan Samiti, told IANS.

“Hopefully, in the next few weeks, all our demands will be met and notifications will be issued in that regard,” said Sangwan.

“Therefore, we have decided to end our protest and Jat agitators have already started to vacate the railway tracks. We have spread this message in all the districts, where Jats were blocking the tracks, and hopefully in the next couple of hours, all tracks will be cleared,” he added.

Jat community members have been agitating in Haryana for the last three weeks and had blocked rail tracks at several places to press their demand that some percentage of government jobs be set side for them within the community under the Other Backward Classes (OBC) quota.

The community had constituted a 31-member committee that held a meeting with Hooda Friday night at Jind town, 220 km from here.

Hooda has agreed to set up a Haryana Backward Classes Commission within a month.

The commission would consider the demand of the communities of Roar, Jat, Jat Sikh, Tyagi, Bishnoi and any other communities who wish to be under the ambit of the backward classes in the state.

The decision of the Jat leadership to withdraw their agitation came after a flip-flop earlier. Just hours after Hooda early Saturday announced that Jats had suspended their protest, the community members said they would seek a written assurance from the government on job quota before withdrawing their stir.

“We had a meeting with Chief Minister Hooda Friday night. Hooda assured us that all our demands will be met in the coming days but still we have not ended our stir,” Sangwan said earlier.

“We are still evaluating the situation and waiting for a written assurance from the government. We cannot trust their verbal promises. We are holding meetings at various places in the state today and probably we can end the protest by noon,” Sangwan had added.

Besides Sangwan, Benayan Khap president Nafe Singh and representatives of other khaps (caste councils) attended the meeting.

The Jat leaders earlier held meetings with union Home Minister P. Chidambaram in New Delhi but the stalemate continued over giving the community reservations under the OBC quota.

The protesters, including women, children and the elderly, had blocked rail tracks at 15 points across Haryana. The worst affected were the districts of Hisar, Bhiwani and Jind.

Thousands of passengers were put to inconvenience as the authorities cancelled several trains passing through Haryana in the last three weeks.

The Jat leaders had earlier announced that they would block the Delhi-Ambala-Amritsar rail track too if their demand was not met by March 25. The deadline ended Friday.

The leaders warned that if their demands were not met by March 28, they would block all roads and rail tracks in Haryana, including those going to Delhi.

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