CHANDIGARH: Curfew today remained in force in Hissar, Hansi and Bhiwani towns while a four-hour relaxation was given in the worst-hit Rohtak district as Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar visited the town where he was heckled by an angry crowd protesting alleged police inaction in dealing with the stir.
However, there was a slight respite for commuters as Jat protesters were lifting the various road and rail blockades set up in various parts of the state. Traffic had resumed on the arterial Ambala-Delhi Highway up to Panipat and officials hoped that as the situation normalises in Sonipat, the onward traffic would resume soon after its disruption due to the Jat agitation which has claimed 19 lives and caused extensive damage to property.
Officials said that curfew was in force in Hissar, Hansi and Bhiwani towns while it was lifted from Jind town. However, the situation remained tense in Jat dominated areas like Rohtak and Sonipat.
In Rohtak, which has been the epicentre of pro quota agitation in Haryana, the district administration gave a four-hour relaxation to allow people to buy essential items. "During the last 24 hours, there is no report of any untoward incident in the district," said a senior official of Rohtak Police today.
He said curfew will continue to be imposed in the Jat dominated district till there is complete normalcy. In Rohtak town, Khattar faced an angry crowd which raised slogans against the police, besides demanding strict action against "looters".
Khattar was also shown black flags and heckled by the crowd. People also demanded strict action against people who took the city to ransom. The Chief Minister, who was accompanied by ministers Abhimanyu and O P Dhankar and Chief Secretary D S Dhesi, assured the people that strictest possible action will be taken against those who indulged in arson.
He also said the state government will take action against government officers and police who made any lapse in performing their duty. From Rohtak, Khattar will leave for Delhi. The BJP-appointed high-powered committee, headed by senior Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu, to examine the demand of Jats for quota in central jobs, has called Khattar for deliberations today to ascertain the state's views on the subject.
In another development, the Punjab and Haryana High Court today asked the Haryana Government to file a status report by Monday next on the Jat agitation. Meanwhile, in Jind, another Jat dominated area, the district administration has lifted curfew.
"We have lifted the curfew. There is about 80 per cent normalcy in Jind district. But we are on the watch," Jind Deputy Commissioner, Vinay Singh said. In Hisar, Jat protestors lifted their dharna from the railway track at Mayyar in the district clearing the Delhi-Hissar rail route.
The railway track was closed on February 11 after Jat protesters sat on dharna. The traffic is expected to be restored after inspection of the track by the railway authorities. Deputy Commissioner of Hissar Chander Shekhar Khare said in Hisar that the protestors have left from the spot.
Spokesman of All India Jat Aarakshan Sanghursh Samiti Ram Bhagat Malik told reporters today that they had vacated the track in view of the action initiated by the Centre in connection with the Jat reservation issue. Other factions of Jat bodies are also in the process of retreating from dharna sites.