Jats threaten blockade against Delhi from March 20

Jat leaders say about 20 lakh people would join the agitation and threaten to block water coming into Delhi through the Munak Canal till their demands were met

Photo by Pramod Pushkarna/National Herald
Photo by Pramod Pushkarna/National Herald


Jat agitators on Thursday threatened a massive agitation in Delhi from March 20, expressing angst against what they say are broken promises on job and education quotas by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“Be ready for an indefinite struggle. At least 20 lakh people will join the protest on March 20. We will lay siege on Delhi,” said Yashpal Malik, president of Akhil Bhartiya Jat Arakshan Sangharsh Samiti (ABJASS). He was addressing thousands of community members who had descended at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar from most northern states—Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Delhi, Punjab, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh—to extend support to the movement that started in Haryana last February. The ‘Jat Nyay Dharna’, said Malik, was being held to seek justice for the community members in Haryana as well as to highlight the quota demand.

The Jat leader also threatened to block water coming into Delhi through the Munak Canal, apart from milk coming into the national capital, till their demands were met. “Delhi is located on the land that belonged to our forefathers. All highways coming to Delhi still pass through our lands.” Malik asked his supporters to come with food rations, tractors and trolleys on March 20, when the second part of the Budget Session of Parliament would be underway.

“Apart from reservation in jobs and educational institutions, we have six other demands,” Malik said. These include the release of those jailed during last year's stir in Haryana and withdrawal of all cases slapped during the protest; and, government jobs for the kin of those killed and injured while taking part in the agitation. Around 30 people were killed in Haryana in last year's violent Jat stir.

The Jats, however, say they feel betrayed by the Prime Minister. After the bloody Jat stir in Haryana in February 2015, in an attempt to buy peace, the Centre brought out a notification in March 2014 to include Jats in the central list of the Other Backward Classes (OBC) category in nine states. However, the Supreme Court struck it down. “After that, PM Modi himself invited us for talks on March 26. He assured us that he would ensure that the Jats would be given quotas. However, he did not fulfil his promise,” Yashpal Malik told National Herald.

“This is the reason why we campaigned against BJP in the ongoing Uttar Pradesh elections,” Malik said. There were placards at Jantar Mantar that read 'Jat ki bhool, kamal ka phool'—which loosely translated means that the community regrets having voted vehemently for the BJP, in the 2014 general elections as well as in the Haryana assembly polls.

Malik later led a group of community members to submit a memorandum on the quota issue to President Pranab Mukherjee. But when they took a march to Parliament later, they were stopped midway by police.

However, the atmosphere was charged at Jantar Mantar on Thursday. Rajesh Gopi who came to join the protest from Bhiwani, Haryana, said, “We are ready for the final battle.”

It has to be seen how the Modi Government reacts this time.

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