Jat leaders reject appeal to call off stir; Minister’s home set on fire

Hisar(PTI): Even as the Haryana government agreed to bring a legislation to provide reservation to Jats under the Special Backward Category, the agitation in the neighbouring Rohtak took a violent turn on Friday afternoon.

The agitators also reportedly vandalised the house of Haryana Finance Minister Capt. Abhimanyu. The protesters set the local circuit house and a police car on fire. They also attacked the office of the Rohtak range IG of Police and damaged vehicles and smashing wind shields of several Haryana Roadways buses.

Reports said that one person was killed and 10 were injured when the police opened fire on the protesters near Rohtak-Delhi bypass.

A Deputy Superintendent of Police was also held captive by the mob as the police tried to bring the protesters under the control. The policemen resorted to firing shots in the air to control the mob.

The Internet and mobile SMS services have already been suspended by the authorities in several districts of Haryana to prevent the spread of communally sensitive messages.

The Jats, which comprise almost 25 per cent of the total population of the State, have been agitating for the past four days blocking roads in the State seeking reservation in government jobs and educational institutions under the Other Backwards Category.

At least 20 people were injured in clashes between Jats and non-Jats in Rohtak, the epicentre of protests, on Thursday even as the police and paramilitary forces resorted to lathi-charge and lobbed tear gas shells to disperse the warring groups, which pelted stones on each other as well as the police.

Normal life has been badly hit in the State in view of agitation, which has spread to more parts of Haryana, including Gurgaon, after talks between the community leaders and government failed to break the deadlock. The worst hit being the Jat-dominated Rohtak-Jhajjar region besides Bhiwani, Sonipat, Jind and Hisar.