Life affected as Jats continue blockades in Haryana (Lead)

March 10th, 2012 - 7:50 pm ICT by IANS  

Chandigarh, March 10 (IANS) Normal life was thrown out of gear in Haryana’s Hisar district and adjoining areas of Bhiwani, Jind and Rohtak districts as the agitating Jat community continued their blockade of roads and railway tracks Saturday.

Jats, who are seeking quotas in government jobs, had decided to intensify their agitation after the Haryana government refused to release nearly 100 leaders of the community who were arrested for violent protests.

The agitators blocked highways and railway tracks in Hisar after the government failed to release their arrested leaders.

Roads and rail services to Delhi, Punjab, Rajasthan and other parts of Haryana were severaly affected due to the blockade.

The Jat leadership had set a deadline till noon Friday for the Haryana government to release the leaders after violence over the previous three days left one youth dead and several injured.

Community leaders said they would not hold any talks with the administration or the state government till their leaders were released.

The protestors also placed trees and boulders on the highways connecting Hisar with Delhi, Jind, Bhiwani and Chandigarh and also blocked the Hisar-Delhi and Hisar-Bathinda railway tracks.

The Jats refused to perform the last rites of the killed youth and kept his body in a glass coffin at the railway track near Mayyar village, 25 km from Hisar.

According to state Director General of Police Ranjiv Dalal, 24 companies of paramilitary forces, comprising nearly 2,500 personnel, had already been deployed in the district and six more companies would reach shortly. This was in addition to Haryana police personnel. The army was also asked to be on standby.

The Jat community has been agitating for the last few days, seeking reservation in government jobs in the Other Backward Classes (OBC) category.

They blame Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda for going back on earlier promises and using delaying tactics and force to break up the agitation.

Tensions have been running high in the district over the last week. On Wednesday, a day after a youth was killed in police firing, protestors blocked the national highway to Delhi and railway tracks. They allegedly also set a police station on fire and ransacked a bank branch near Hisar Cantt, 300 km from Chandigarh.

Sandeep, 20, was killed early Tuesday as police attempted to remove protesting Jats from the railway track near Ramayan and Mayyar villages in the district.

Nearly 25 protestors were injured in police action Tuesday. Of these, 10 were seriously injured and admitted to hospitals here and in Rohtak.

Police used tear gas and batons to disperse the protestors, who were pelting stones at them.

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