CHANDIGARH--Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar was heckled today and an angry crowd gheraoed his vehicle as he visited Jat dominated Rohtak district, the epicentre of the stir, even as he assured that strict action would be taken against who caused damage to public and private property.
As soon as he reached Rohtak, the Chief Minister's car was gheraoed by angry people who raised slogans like "Haryana Police murdabad" to protest the state police's alleged failure in controlling the violent situation.
Khattar was also shown black flags and was even heckled by the crowd. People also hooted against Khattar and demanded strict action against people who took the city to ransom.
Addressing the people demanding strict action against "looters", Khattar assured them that strictest action possible will be taken against those who set shops and commercial establishments on fire and caused damage to private property.
Rohtak, which was the epicenter of the Jat stir, saw massive damage to private property belonging to non-Jats.
In the city to review the situation, Khattar said the state government will give full compensation to those persons whose property was damaged during the Jat agitation.
He said the state government would also give jobs to affected families of those who are poor and economically backward.
The first time MLA said the state government would also take strict action against those officers be it from district administration or police department for dereliction in duty.
"State government will take action against those government and police officers who made any lapse in performing their duty," he further said.
He also assured the people that the government would take action against people who burnt shops and commercial establishments.
Meanwhile, curfew today remained in force in Hissar, Hansi and Bhiwani towns while a four-hour relaxation was given in the worst-hit Rohtak district.
However, there was a slight respite for commuters as Jat protesters were lifting the various road and rail blockades set up in various parts of the state.
Traffic had resumed on the arterial Ambala-Delhi Highway up to Panipat and officials hoped that as the situation normalises in Sonipat, the onward traffic would resume soon after its disruption due to the Jat agitation which has claimed 19 lives and caused extensive damage to property.
Officials said that curfew was in force in Hissar, Hansi and Bhiwani towns while it was lifted from Jind town.
However, the situation remained tense in Jat dominated areas like Rohtak and Sonipat.
In Rohtak, which has been the epicentre of pro quota agitation in Haryana, the district administration gave a four-hour relaxation to allow people to buy essential items.
"During the last 24 hours, there is no report of any untoward incident in the district," said a senior official of Rohtak Police today.
He said curfew will continue to be imposed in the Jat dominated district till there is complete normalcy.
The BJP-appointed high-powered committee, headed by senior Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu, to examine the demand of Jats for quota in central jobs, has called Khattar for deliberations today to ascertain the state's views on the subject.
Cracks in Khattar Cabinet
The agitation has brought fore the fault lines in the state’s council of ministers.
Anil Vij, the health minister in the Manohar Lal Khattar government, expressed his disapproval at the declaration of a compensation of Rs 10 lakh and government job to the next of the kin of those who were killed in the violence.
Vij, who is a Punjabi, was reportedly irked that the announcement was made by his cabinet colleagues despite the fact that they had reached a consensus in the cabinet meeting saying it was not the right time do so, reported Hindustan Times.
HC Wants Jat Stir Report By Monday
In another development, the Punjab and Haryana High Court today asked the Haryana Government to file a status report by Monday next on the Jat agitation.
A division bench comprising justices S K Mittal and H S Sidhu gave the directions to the state’s advocate general BR Mahajan on a PIL filed by Bhiwani resident Murari Lal Gupta.
“Let Haryana remain Haryana as it is known. Otherwise it will go back by 50 years,” the bench observed.
Normalcy In Some Parts Of Haryana
Meanwhile, in Jind, another Jat dominated area, the district administration has lifted curfew.
"We have lifted the curfew. There is about 80 per cent normalcy in Jind district. But we are on the watch," Jind Deputy Commissioner, Vinay Singh said.
In Hisar, Jat protestors lifted their dharna from the railway track at Mayyar in the district clearing the Delhi-Hissar rail route.
The railway track was closed on February 11 after Jat protesters sat on dharna.
The traffic is expected to be restored after inspection of the track by the railway authorities.
Deputy Commissioner of Hissar Chander Shekhar Khare said in Hisar that the protestors have left from the spot.
Spokesman of All India Jat Aarakshan Sanghursh Samiti Ram Bhagat Malik told reporters today that they had vacated the track in view of the action initiated by the Centre in connection with the Jat reservation issue.
Other factions of Jat bodies are also in the process of retreating from dharna sites. .
However, the bus service to Delhi and other places, including Rohtak, Chandigarh and Bhiwani, has not been restored as there are many blockades, including trees on the National Highway which are being cleared.
Curfew continued in five villages of Hisar district in view of prevailing tension in view of face off between Jats and non-Jats Jats in the area yesterday.
The curfew was imposed in five villages of Sisai, Pano Bolan, Kali Rava, Sainipura and Dhanipal falling in Hansi sub-division of the district.
Army and police were patrolling the affected villages.
Haryana government yesterday said that it would fully compensate those who suffered loss of private property during the Jat agitation.
The state government also announced a relief of Rs 10 lakh to family of each deceased. Besides government job to a family member would be given and no case against innocent persons would be registered.
(With inputs from PTI)
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