Jats Have Assured June 5 Protests Would Be Peaceful, Says Haryana Chief Minister

CHANDIGARH: Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Monday said Jat leaders have assured him of staging dharnas peacefully in the state on June 5.

“We have had talks with them (the Jats) and they have assured us to hold dharnas in a peaceful manner. In a democratic set-up, everyone has a right to put his views in a peaceful manner. We cannot deprive them of that,” Mr Khattar said.

Mr Khattar said that representatives of Jat Aarakshan Sangharsh Samiti have assured him that they will be staging dharnas in a peaceful manner.

He was talking to reporters on the sidelines of Union Minister Birender Singh’s filing of nomination papers for the biennial Rajya Sabha polls.

Members of the Jat community have threatened to launch fresh protests in the state for reservation and against lodging criminal cases on their leaders from June 5.

Asked about deployment of central forces in sensitive districts and imposition of prohibitory orders under section 144 at a few places, Mr Khattar said, “Keeping in mind what happened three months back, we are taking steps to maintain law-and-order.”

The Chief Minister added, “I am of the belief that no such situation (as witnessed during the Jat protests in February) will arise again.”

Around 30 people were killed and property worth hundreds of crores of rupees damaged in violence during the agitation in Haryana in February.

Last week, a sedition charge was slapped on Jat Sangharsh Samiti chief Yashpal Malik and 125 others for threatening peace and communal harmony by instigating people to launch fresh protests.

Unmoved by FIRs against many Jat leaders, Mr Malik has maintained that they would go ahead with their protest on June 5, slated to be launched after a meeting in Hisar district.

Jat leaders from several states, including Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan and UP, are expected to take part in the meeting.

Earlier this week, the Punjab and Haryana High Court stayed the Haryana government order allowing reservation for Jats and five other communities under a newly-carved Backward Classes (C) category.