CHANDIGARH: The Government of Haryana has stepped up security in many towns as the deadline issued by the Jat community to accept their demand for quotas ends today.
On Monday, Jat community leaders had threatened to resume their agitation for quotas which saw widespread violence across the state last month.
"The state government has time till March 17. So far, the government has not responded to any of our demands," said Hawa Singh Sangwan, the president of the Akhil Bhartiya Jat Mahasabha.
But a bill which will grant special Other Backward Classes status to Jats and four other communities to entitle them to reservations in government jobs and educational institutions is unlikely to be introduced in the state assembly today as there is still a lack of consensus. The bill is reportedly being redrafted for introduction in the state assembly.
The Jats along with Bishnoi, Jat Sikh, Rode and Tyagi communities will be given 10 percent reservation under the special OBC category that is being created by the Chief Minister M L Khattar-led BJP government.
Khattar has assured that the existing 27 percent quota for OBCs will remain untouched.
The Jat Aarakshan Sangharsh Samiti, which is spearheading the quota protests, has also demanded withdrawal of cases against those booked for rioting and arson during the violent protests last month.
The state government has stepped up security in Rohtak and Jhajjar towns, the epicentre of the protests. It has also asked for 80 companies of paramilitary forces from the Centre to maintain law and order.
The district administrations in Rohtak, Sonepat, Jhajjar, Jind, Bhiwani and Kaithal have ordered the closure of schools and colleges as per television reports.
Last month, the Haryana police was severely criticised for its "failure" to prevent and control the violence that swept the state, in which 30 people were killed and over 200 were injured.
Jats in Haryana have been demanding the benefits of affirmative action for years. The previous Congress government had announced "Special Backward Caste" for the community in 2013, but the Punjab and Haryana High Court stalled the move last year.
The Supreme Court has rejected the inclusion of Jats in the Centre's OBC list on the ground that the National Commission of Backward Castes does not consider them socially and economically backward in Haryana.