CHANDIGARH: The Jat agitation for OBC status in the state entered the eighth day Sunday as the government struggled to keep the lid on the protests. Despite assurances from the government to table an OBC quota Bill in the Assembly shortly, the violence continued, taking the toll to 12 and the number of injured to 150.
Curfew has been imposed in nine towns of the state, but incidents of violence continued unabated. More than 1,200 vehicles and 500 shops have been burnt down by the protestors. Already, 5,000 paramilitary personnel and 69 columns of the Army have been deployed, mostly in Jhajjar and Rohtak, where the situation continues to remain volatile.
Meanwhile, Delhi is staring at a water crisis as the protests hit operations at the Munak Canal. Around 60 per cent of Delhi’s water supply comes from Haryana. With a view to restore water supply to Delhi at the earliest, the Haryana government has rushed paramilitary forces and a technical team from the Irrigation department to Akbarpur-Barota point in Sonepat. “Our first priority is to restore Delhi’s water supply, from Akbarpur Barota point in Sonipat. Police, paramilitary forces and a technical team from Haryana’s Irrigation department have reached there and we are trying to restore it immediately so that Delhi residents are not inconvenienced,” said Haryana DGP Yashpal Singhal. He said that his top priority was to restore disrupted water supply to Delhi from Haryana which has got affected due to the Jat stir.
He said, “Sixty nine columns of army have reached Haryana and have been deployed mostly in Jhajjar and Rohtak.’’ Singhal said that so far, close to 50 persons have been rounded up for indulging in violence and arson and action is being taken against them as per law as 191 cases have been registered.
Asked why the Army was not given a free hand to bring the situation under control, he said, “The Army is deployed to aid the civil administration. There is no such provision in law to give the Army a free hand. They have to take orders from the Magistrates.” More than 20 foreign scientists and around 1,000 scientists and farmers from all over the country are stranded in Karnal as they had come at NDRI to participate in the 44th International Dairy Conference.
Passengers of the Lahore-Delhi bus — Sada-e-Sarhad — have also been stuck at Fategarh Sahib in Punjab since Saturday due to the ongoing Jat agitation. The police stopped the bus as a precautionary measure. The Sadbhavna Express, which runs twice a week between Delhi and Lahore, might be cancelled Monday.