The Army conducted flag march in tense areas of Haryana and used choppers to reach parts of Rohtak even as incidents of violence and arson by Jats demanding quota continued at several places overnight, despite authorities imposing curfew and issuing shoot-at-sight orders in two districts. To bring the situation under control, the Army on Saturday conducted a flag march in two curfew-bound districts and used helicopters to reach parts of the blocked Rohtak district. The Army could not enter Rohtak through road as protesters had put up blockades on Delhi, Hisar, Rohtak, and Fazilka highways, forcing the authorities to air drop them, official said. The Haryana government had on Friday called in the Army to nine districts while curfew was imposed in two districts along with shoot-at-sight orders after one person died and 25 were injured. The Centre has also rushed 3,300 personnel of paramilitary forces to control the rampaging mob.
On Saturday, Chaudhary Birendra Singh, union minister for rural development, himself a Jat leader from Haryana, said that the government was ready to talk to the protesters. “We are ready to speak to every party concerned. I appeal to the protesters not to indulge in vandalism. Right now, Haryana is being pushed towards lawlessness,” he said.
The agitating members of the Jat community are demanding their inclusion in the OBC category and thereby reservation in government jobs. Fresh incidents of violence were reported on Saturday with protesters torching a railway office in Jind and blocking traffic at major highways. As the protest intensified, some unidentified persons set on fire the Budha Khera railway station in Jind district on Saturday morning. Furniture, the record room and other articles were set on fire at the railway station, which falls in the Jind-Panipat rail section, police said. Chief Minister Manohar Khattar issued a fresh appeal to the people to maintain peace.”I appeal to all my fellow Haryanvis to maintain law and order in the state, and ensure that harmony is maintained in society,” Khattar tweeted.
Normal life was crippled in Rohtak, the epicentre of the ongoing agitation, and in Bhiwani and some other areas, with rail and road traffic hit, and shops, commercial establishments and schools remaining closed.