21 mar : The govt’s Crisis Management Group (CMG) reviewed the situation arising out of the continuous agitation by Jats for job quota and the steps being taken for smooth flow of trains and road traffic in north India.
The Centre is also mulling changing rules to allow the National Commission for Backward Castes (NCBC) to receive representations of the Jats to consider community’s pleas for inclusion in the Central government list of backward castes.
The existing rules do not allow the NCBC to take the petitions of the Jats as it had long ago rejected their pleas for inclusion in the quota list.“The change of this particular rule does not need any Parliamentary approval. So, the Ministry of Social justice and Empowerment is likely to issue an official notification in this effect soon so that the NCBC can consider their pleas again,” an official said.
The CMG, headed by Cabinet Secretary K M Chandrasekhar, took stock of the situation in Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Rajasthan where the agitation of the Jat community affected normal life, particularly the railway traffic.
The meeting also deliberated a few options which could be considered to bring back normalcy in the affected areas.
Officials said the train traffic between Delhi and Chandigarh continues to be affected with suspension of several trains on Monday due to the blockade by Jats in Haryana.
The Home Ministry has already dispatched 1,000 paramilitary personnel to Haryana to assist local authorities to deal with any law and order situation there.
On Saturday, the Jats withdrew their fortnight-long blockade from the railway tracks in Uttar Pradesh following an Allahabad High Court order, but a crucial meeting between the protesters and Union Home Minister P Chidambaram and Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Mukul Wasnik failed to find an amicable solution to the demand.
All India Jat Aarakshan Samiti chief Yashpal Malik said they would continue their agitation as the government did not give any commitment on the time-limit on implementation of the demand even though it accepted that the demand was justified.
However, Secretary in the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment K M Acharya said the demand for inclusion of Jats into the central list of OBCs has to be taken by the NCBC for which the government cannot give any time-bound commitment as the Commission was an independent entity.
Jats threaten to block Delhi-Ambala rail route
Agitating Jats on Monday threatened to block the Delhi-Ambala rail route if their demand for reservation in Central government jobs under the OBC category was not met by 25th March.
They also threatened to cut off the national capital from the rest of North India in the next phase of their stir if the demand was not fulfilled by 28th March.
These decisions were taken at a meeting of top Jat leaders in Kurukshetra on Monday as a huge posse of policemen stood guard at the venue.
If the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre did not accept their demand by 25th March, Jats would lay siege to the Delhi-Ambala route, community leaders Santosh Dahiya and Dharmpa Chhot told mediapersons in Kurukshetra.
The blockade of the route will mean disruption of rail services to Amritsar and Pathankot in Punjab, Jammu in J and K, Una in Himachal Pradesh and the Chandigarh Union Territory.
“If the UPA government does not announce the quota for Jats by March 28, then Delhi will be cut off from the rest of North India. No water from Yamuna, no petroleum products like LPG from the Panipat Refinery and no milk and vegetables will be allowed to enter the national capital,” the two leaders said.
Recently, the protesters squatted on 12 rail lines in Haryana for over two weeks affecting train services on several routes including Jind-Hisar, Hisar-Jakhhal, Jaipur-Hisar and Delhi-Rohtak.
The Jats in UP had lifted their fortnight-long blockade of rail tracks following an Allahabad High Court order.
The impasse, however, persisted with a crucial meeting between the protesters and the Central government failing to find an amicable solution to their demand.
Some 250 Jat leaders participated in the conclave held in the main hall of Jat Dharamshala.
Police conducted a flag march and put up barricades leading to the city ahead of the meeting.