Chandigarh, March 26 (IANS) Just hours after Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda announced that Jats had suspended their protests, leaders of the community Saturday said they would seek a written assurance from the government on reservation before withdrawing their stir.
The flip-flop between the community leaders and the Hooda government became evident Saturday morning after one of the prominent Jat leaders said the decision to withdraw the protest would be taken Saturday afternoon.
“We had a meeting with Chief Minister Hooda Friday night. Hooda assured us that all our demands will be met in the coming days but still we have not ended our stir,” Hawa Singh Sangwan, president of the Haryana Jat Arakshan Samiti, told IANS.
“We are still evaluating the situation and waiting for a written assurance from the government. We cannot trust their verbal promises. We are holding meetings at various places in the state today and probably we can end the protest by noon,” Sangwan added.
Hooda had early Saturday claimed that Jat protesters have suspended their stir and would lift the blockade of railway tracks.
Jat community members have been protesting in Haryana for the last three weeks and had blocked rail tracks at several places. They are seeking reservation in government jobs for the community under the Other Backward Classes (OBC) quota.
The community had constituted a 31-member committee that held a meeting with Hooda Friday night at Jind town, 220 km from here.
Hooda has agreed to set up a Haryana Backward Classes Commission within a month.
The commission would consider the demand of the communities of Roar, Jat, Jat Sikh, Tyagi, Bishnoi and any other community who wishes to be under the ambit of the backward classes in the state.
Besides Sangwan, Benayan Khap president Nafe Singh and representatives of other khaps (caste councils) attended the meeting.
The Jat leaders earlier held meetings with union Home Minister P. Chidambaram in New Delhi but the stalemate over giving them reservation under the OBC quota had continued.
The protesters, including women, children and the elderly, had blocked rail tracks at 15 points across Haryana. The worst affected were the districts of Hisar, Bhiwani and Jind.
Thousands of passengers were put to inconvenience as the authorities cancelled several trains passing through Haryana in the last three weeks.
The Jat leaders had earlier announced that they would block the Delhi-Ambala-Amritsar rail track if their demand was not met by March 25. The deadline ended Friday.
The leaders also warned that if their demands were not met by March 28, they would block all roads and rail tracks in Haryana, including those going to Delhi.