Haryana burns as Jat protest turns into unruly violence
Day seven of the protest proves violent as death toll in past 36 hours reached four with over 100 people injured
Rohtak/Chandigarh: Chaos reigned in Haryana on Saturday with escalated violence in several areas as hooligans, who have joined ranks of Jat protestors, ran amok, setting afire government and private property and vehicles, blocking roads and highways, disrupting trains and uprooting tracks and indulging in looting.
Protestors burn an effigy of Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar in Meerut on Saturday. pic/PTI
Curfew was imposed in Hisar, Sonipat and Jind towns. The death toll in the violence in past 36 hours has reached four with over 100 people being injured. One person was killed when soldiers opened fire on an unruly mob in Jhajjar. The Haryana Police and local administration failed to react to the violence.
The Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar appealed to protestors to stop the violence and the BJP invited them to hold talks with the party’s central leadership. His predecessor Bhupinder Singh Hooda, of the Congress, said that he would start a hunger strike at Jantar Mantar.
Army columns conducted flag marches in the violence-hit districts as the security forces grappled with the tense situation. However, the army did not take a flag march towards Gate No 2 of Maharishi Dayanand University in Rohtak town as nearly 3,000 Jat youth laid siege to the area.
The toll plaza on the Panipat-Rohtak highway was also set on fire by mobs, while protesters uprooted the Delhi-Ambala railway track at Rajlu Garhi in Panipat district. Nearly 550 trains were cancelled or diverted.
Haryana Director General of Police YP Singhal said that 129 cases have so far been registered against agitators and claimed that the situation improved on Saturday compared to Friday. He said 13 army columns have reached the state to assist the administration and 10 more columns are being airlifted, while 10 companies of paramilitary forces have reached the state and 23 more are on their way.