Chandigarh: Authorities in Haryana today imposed a curfew in Bhiwani and Rohtak districts and called in the army as protests by the Jat community demanding reservations in government jobs and institutions turned violent in Haryana. A curfew has been imposed and shoot-at-sight orders have been issued in the city areas of Jhajjar and Rohtak, the worst affected districts by the crisis.
As per latest reports, protesters have broken into a private armoury in Rohtak, Haryana, and guns and ammunition were looted. The R N Mall in Rohtak city was also set on fire by protesters. Another school building, said to be owned by cabinet minister of the state Captain Abhimanyu was also set on fire. Several other shops and hotels were also laid siege to by the unruly mob.
The Jat reservation row, which entered its sixth day, has seen at least two persons killed and at least 10 others injured as police said they were forced to resort to firing to dispel an unruly crowd.
Haryana DGP Y P Singhal today said that the army has been called in Rohtak, Jhajjar, Sonipat, Bhiwani and Hisar districts.He said that a leader-less mob of the Jat community was moving in Rohtak town and resorting to violence. A politician's house, the top cop's office and several police and public vehicles were damaged as a mob of around 100 people, mostly students, went on a rampage in the state.
Angry protestors also attempted to lay siege to the residence of Captain Abhimanyu, the state Finance Minister. A large number of protestors gathered around the house of the cabinet minister and allegedly tried to burn it down. A senior police official was attacked and several police vehicles damaged.
“A BSF jawan was injured from a bullet fired from a local-made revolver. The BSF retaliated in self-defence. Unfortunately, one person was killed and some other demonstrators have been injured in the firing,” Haryana's DGP Yashpal SInghal told the press today.
According to the official, the crowds have not allowed forces to shift the injured jawan to the hospital.
Protests intensified on a day when the Haryana government agreed to bring a legislation to introduce reservation for Jats in the upcoming assebly session. The state government arrived at the deicison at an all-party meeting called today to discuss the issue.
With the Jat community agitation spreading in the state, the authorities this morning have blocked internet services in the affected districts. Internet services, including 2G and 3G, have been blocked in the worst-affected districts of Rohtak, Sonipat and Jhajjar since midnight.
"This has been done so that rumours are not spread as this could lead to the situation getting out of hand," a senior Haryana police official said.
Jat protesters clashed with security forces in Rohtak town on Thursday evening when the police tried to remove the blockades put up by the protesters.
The protesters attacked with stones and bricks. A police vehicle was also damaged in the clash.
"Some roads are blocked by the protesters. We are trying to persuade them to remove the road blockades. We have requisitioned para-military forces and we are prepared to tackle the situation," Saurabh Singh, district police chief of Rohtak, the worst-affected by the agitation, told media.
Life remained paralysed in most parts of Rohtak, Jhajjar and some other districts of the state as the agitation entered its sixth day on Friday. Rail and road traffic has also come to a complete standstill as protestors occupy major highways and rail tracks in the region. Even the supply of essential items like milk and food supplies have also been hit hard.
There are indications that the protests could snowball and affect other neighbouring districts as well. Schools in Gurgaon have also been shut down fearing a crisis.
The Jat protestors are demanding reservation for the community in government jobs and educational institutions.