Thursday, July 29, 2010

Jats Want Reservation: Threaten to disrupt Games

In a protest rally against the Central government for denying them reservation in jobs, thousands of Jats from the nearby districts of Uttar Pradesh and Haryana accompanied by their representatives from Punjab and Kashmir threatened to disrupt the Commonwealth Games if their demands were not met. Police had a tough time stopping the protesters as they attempted to march towards Parliament on Wednesday.

The protest was called off after two delegations of members from the Jat community met senior officials at Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and at 10, Janpath. All India Jat Reservation Sangharsh Samiti (AIJRSS) president Yaspal Mallik said they have been assured that they will be given an appointment with the PM in the next one week and that Congress president Sonia Gandhi will also meet them soon.

‘‘We are giving the top government functionaries enough time to meet our demand. The government must make its promises in public through a statement in the press. If they don’t meet our expectations we will disrupt water, electricity and gas supply to Delhi. The supply of milk and vegetables will also be stopped and we will cut off all rail and road routes leading to the capital,’’ he added.

Even as Mallik claimed the Jats will not resort to any form of violence to win their ‘right’, top leaders, including Mallik himself, did not hesitate before issuing all possible threats to the government about disrupting normal life in the capital. ‘‘Let the government say no our demands; we will change the face of the capital in minutes,’’ one of the speakers warned.

Addressing the rally, Mallik said the protesters marched to Delhi only to tell the government what they were planning to do in case their voices go unheard. Announcing that the Jats will burn effigies of the Queen’s Baton, the Jat leader said, ‘‘We will do this in our villages. All essential services pass through our fields. On September 13, we will block all the roads that lead to the capital.’’

After the two delegations returned from PMO and 10, Janpath, Mallik slightly toned down and said the community was hopeful of a fruitful dialogue. ‘‘But since we don’t know what they will decide, we will continue our planning for the September 13 protest. If our demands are met, we will call off the protest and hold Jat awareness programmes on that day,’’ Mallik said.

Recently, AIJRSS had snapped the water supply to Delhi from the Upper Ganga Canal in Muradnagar.