Jat Quota Stir: Protesters Vandalise Mall, Shops As Fresh Violence Reported In Parts Of Haryana

| } February 22 , 2016 , 13:00 IST
A large number of stick-welding protesters vandalised a mall and several shops in the violence-hit district today where army and police have been deployed in the wake of the Jat agitation demanding quota in government jobs. Agitators also set afire a two-wheeler in the district, officials said. Security personnel dispersed the violent mob to prevent further damage to public and private property. Curfew was lifted yesterday in Kaithal by the district administration. Later, several members from non-Jat community took out a protest march against the administration for its alleged failure in providing safety to their shops and commercial establishments. They raised slogans against the administration, official said. Earlier, The army took control of the Munak canal in Haryana's Sonipat district, traffic was restored on the busy NH-1 and curfew was relaxed at various places as Haryana crawled towards normalcy on Monday, officials said here. Army personnel took control of the Munak canal and efforts were being made to restore the water supply to national capital Delhi, police sources said here. "Thank u army, thank u centre for securing munak canal back. Great relief for delhi," tweeted Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. Reports said that traffic had been restored on National Highway No. 1 (NH-1) between Delhi and Ambala after security forces removed Jat protesters at some places while protesters left the blockade points on their own on Monday morning. Traffic was being restored on other highways in the violence-hit districts of Rohtak, Sonipat, Panipat, Jhajjar, Bhiwani, Jind, Kaithal and Hisar. Police sources said that Jat protesters continued to block roads and railway tracks at some places on Monday. Efforts were being made to remove them and restore traffic. Curfew in Rohtak town was relaxed for one hour on Monday. Curfew was lifted in Hisar and Hansi towns on Monday, officials said. Army personnel and para-military forces, along with the state police and district authorities, continued to patrol and provide security along the NH-1 and other roads to ensure that the Jat protesters did not return. Thousands of people and vehicles were stranded on NH-1 as the protesters laid siege to the highway in Sonipat and Panipat districts in the past three days, cutting off road connectivity to Haryana, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Chandigarh through the highway. Railway officials said that restoration of train traffic on the Delhi-Ambala and Delhi-Bathinda sections could take some more time as the tracks will have to be repaired and inspected thoroughly before plying of trains is allowed. The protesters had uprooted the railway tracks at various places. Nearly 900 trains were cancelled by railway authorities in the region due to the Jat agitation. The state remained on tenterhooks on Monday as security forces moved in to get blockades by Jat protesters removed along highways and railway tracks. No untoward incident, except for the earlier blockades, was reported in the state in the past 12-hours, police said in the morning. Some protesters have started going back to their places early on Monday, the police officials said. With the Bharatiya Janata Party promising to give reservation to Jats and assuring that a bill will be brought in the next session of the Haryana assembly, Jat leaders had appealed to the protesters to end the agitation. The eight-day old Jat agitation has left 11 people dead and over 150 injured, said Haryana Additional Chief Secretary - home P.K. Dass. Security forces were able to secure the Munak canal, which supplies water to Delhi, in Haryana's Sonipat district on Monday morning. Water supply to Delhi was disrupted at Akbarpur-Barota by Jat protesters since Friday night. Hundreds of shops have been vandalised and set on fire in Rohtak, Bhiwani, Jhajjar and other places. A number of government and private buildings and vehicles were also set on fire in the past four days as mob of youth went on the rampage in over 10 districts in Haryana. The state government had to requisition the army and para-military forces to contain the situation. However, the violent protests continued and even spread to other areas of the state. Sources said that Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar has called for a cabinet meeting in Chandigarh on Monday afternoon. The meeting will discuss the reservation issue for Jats and the situation in the state.