Jat Quota Stir: Indian Army Recaptures Delhi Water Source

22/02/2016 11:04 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:26 AM IST
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Hindustan Times via Getty Images
ROHTAK, INDIA - FEBRUARY 21: Army personnel get down from a helicopter at the Police Lines to handle the situation as Jat community protests for reservation in government services, on February 21, 2016 in Rohtak, India. Jat protests demanding reservation under OBC category have taken on a caste colour with violence erupting across Haryana. Reports from Rohtak indicate that Jat protestors looted and vandalised properties owned by people from other castes. Jat leaders rejected the offer made by the state government and said that the stir would continue till their demand is met. (Photo by Manoj Dhaka/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

The Indian army has taken control of a canal that supplies three-fifths of Delhi's water, the state's chief minister said on Monday, raising hope that a water crisis in the metropolis of more than 20 million people can be averted.

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted that the army had regained control from protesters of the gates of the Munak canal to the north of Delhi. He was assessing how long it would take for water to reach the city.

Protests by the Jat caste in neighbouring Haryana have paralysed road and rail links and killed at least 10 in a challenge to the authority of the state and national governments run by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's nationalist party.

Although the government bowed on Sunday to the demand of the Jats for more government jobs and places in education, protest leaders said they would carry on their agitation.

"We will continue the protests. The government thinks we will succumb to their pressure tactics but they are making a big mistake by ignoring us," Ramesh Dalal, convenor of the Jat Arakshan Andolan (Jat Reservation Movement), told Reuters.

"Jats are determined to win the battle. They had to send the army to control our anger but even they have failed."

Rioting escalated over the weekend across Haryana, a largely rural state of 25 million to the west of the national capital.

The Jats, who make up a quarter of the state's population, are a largely rural community of landowners that has lost out as population growth has shrunk the size of family farms while two years of drought have hit their crops.

There were reports of outbreaks of inter-caste conflict in some flashpoints while residents declared others no-go areas for the police and army, despite the deployment of nearly 10,000 soldiers and border guards to quell the protests.

Protesters have burned railway stations and car showrooms, blocked road traffic and forced the cancellation of hundreds of trains. India's largest car maker, Maruti Suzuki, has shut two factories because of disruptions to its supply chain.

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