Jat reservation bill approved by Haryana cabinet
The Haryana Cabinet sanctioned the Jat reservation bill to grant reservation to Jats, Jat Sikhs, Bishnois, Tyagis and Rors in government jobs and educational institutes. Sources said that the cabinet had chosen to give reservation to Jats under a new category for backward classes - BC-3. There was already 27% seats in government jobs for backward classes in the categories - BC-1 and BC-2.
The Haryana government enlisted Jats as a 'Special Backward Caste (SBC)', allowing them 10% quota in state government jobs and educational institutions. Jats in Haryana also held a 10% quota as an Economically Weaker Section. In 2014, Jats were included in the central OBC list, granting them a 27% central quota, leading to government reservations for the community in Haryana to exceed 50%.
The Supreme Court rejected caste-based reservations by the central government and scrapped the UPA government's controversial decision to grant Jats OBC status. The Supreme Court dismissed claims that Jats were not adequately represented in the government, observing that the community was strongly mobilized politically. The Haryana government followed suit in July 2015 and took the Jat community off the state's OBC list.
A blockade of national and state highways and railways in Haryana by the Jat community, protesting their right to OBC reservations, resulted in disruption of law and order across the state. Jat leaders rejected Haryana CM Khattar's offer to increase Jat reservation from 10% to 20% under the Economically Backward Section quota. The escalating violence in protests left at least 15 injured.
A panel was formed by Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar to study the Jat community's demands for reservations and will submit its report to the state legislature on 31 March 2016.
Growing clashes in Haryana over the Jat community's demands for OBC quotas led the Haryana administration to impose Section 144 in the state, prohibiting assembly of ten or more people. Mobile internet and SMS services were suspended in several districts including Rohtak, Jhajjar and Bhiwani to establish law and order. Meanwhile, Haryana ex-CM Hooda accused 'differing voices in the BJP' for inciting protestors.
An all-party meeting was convened by Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar to deliberate the demands of reservations by Jat leaders. Succumbing to the ongoing Jat-led agitations, parties agreed to table a law for granting quotas to Jats in the upcoming assembly session As a conciliatory gesture, Khattar's government also withdrew inflammatory comments made by Kurukshetra MP Saini and Cabinet Minister Ram Bilas Sharma.
In an ugly turn of events in the ongoing Jat agitation, the house of Captain Abhimanyu, the finance minister of Haryana, was set on fire by protestors. The mob also set the RN Mall in Rohtak on fire and looted arms and ammunitions from a private armoury. Army has been called in to handle the situation as police stations are being attacked.
The ongoing agitation in Haryana, has affected Delhi's water supply after the flow from the Munak canal was stopped. Barring the President, Prime Minister, Chief Justice of India, defence installations, hospitals and the fire brigade, the water will be rationed for everyone else. All schools in Delhi have been closed and exams postponed as the government begins the rationing process.
A high-level meeting of Jat and BJP leaders, chaired by the Home Minister Rajnath Singh was convened to address the Jat agitation, and the state government agreed to examine their demand for OBC status. As the agitation entered the eighth day, the death toll reached 12 and the number of injured reached 150. 1,200 vehicles and 500 shops were burnt down by the protestors.
Haryana saw a tense calm for the first time in nine days as Jats seeking job quotas withdrew from the streets. Highway and rail traffic was restored even as security forces were on alert to foil possible clashes that could break out. Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar vowed not to spare those guilty of rioting and arson that crippled Haryana.
Leaders of the Jat community warned the Haryana government of the midnight-deadline to announce the inclusion of the Jats in the OBC category. The Jats threatened to launch another agitation if the government failed to do so. ML Khattar's government said that it was committed to allocating reserved jobs and college places to Jats; however it "will not be held hostage" to the deadline.