Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Jat protesters call off agitation

Jat protesters called off their agitation on Monday afternoon, hours after a team of Jat leaders, accompanied by several Ghaziabad officials, held talks with representatives of the Center’s social welfare department in Delhi. The protesters moved away from the Upper Ganga canal, allowing the supply of raw water to be restored to Delhi.

The Jats, protesting against Center’s perceived indifferent attitude towards their demand to bring the community under OBC category, asked the government to announce a new policy for them by July 10. The Jat leaders said if their demands were not met, ‘‘the situation would not pleasant when Delhi hosts the Commonwealth Games’’.

‘‘Water, electricity, petrol, diesel, CNG etc reach Delhi through our fields. If our demands are not met we will be forced to disrupt their supply. In our talks we made this clear to the government officials,’’ said Colonel M S Dahiya, one of the Jat representatives who attended the meeting in Delhi.

Sources in Ghaziabad district administration said the negotiations between protesters and top officials went for several hours on Monday morning before they were successful in persuading the agitators to restore the water supply. ‘‘Centre and UP government were trying to pass the buck. While Centre said the state must deal with the problem, UP government said Jats have issues with the Central government. Finally, Centre agreed to hold talks with us,’’ said one of the key Jat negotiators.

Though water supply from the canal started on Monday afternoon, senior DJB officials said the raw water would not reach Sonia Vihar and Bhagirathi water treatment plants before 6-7 hours.

H P Singh Parihar, vice-president of All India Jat Reservation Sangarsh Samiti, said the talks were successful and they now expect the government to make its stand clear. ‘‘We have been told that the issue is being taken up at the highest level. If they fail to meet our demand, we will take the fight to the next level after July 10,’’ said Parihar.

Earlier in the day, Raghuvir Lal, SSP of Ghaziabad, said the police were deploying a platoon of PAC at the canal to prevent anyone from disrupting the water supply. ‘‘We are making this arrangement for the next few days. Later, we will work out some strategy to prevent any form of attack on the water channel here,’’ the SSP added.