Lucknow, March 14 (IANS) Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati Monday announced her support for the ongoing Jat agitation for declaring the community a backward class and urged the protesters to shift their demonstrations to the national capital.
“We are in full support of the Jat community’s demand for inclusion in the list of backward castes, but that is something beyond the purview or powers of any state government and it could be done only by the central government,” Mayawati said in a statement issued here.
She urged the agitators to shift their demonstrations to New Delhi so that their voice was heard by the ruling dispensation there.
Meanwhile, the nine-day-old agitation by the members of the Jat community, who dominate large parts of western Uttar Pradesh, has hit over 550 train services so far.
With the Mayawati administration and police looking the other way, demonstrators have been blocking the important Delhi-Lucknow train route. While a large number of trains have been diverted, a bigger number of trains were cancelled on account of the sit-in demonstration by Jat farmers squatting on the tracks.
At many places, the farmers had parked their tractors on the rail tracks, from where railway authorities were unable to remove them in absence of support from the state police.
“The state government is just looking the other way and all our requests to the Uttar Pradesh chief secretary and director general of police have fallen on deaf ears,” a senior official of Moradabad railway division told IANS over telephone from Moradabad.
“Apart from affecting passenger train services in a big way, the agitation had also disturbed freight movement, so much so that crucial supply of coal to certain power installations was also disrupted,” he added.
“The agitation has cost the railways dear and the estimated losses already run into several crores of rupees,” the official said.