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Parties should stay away from agitations: Harya CM

Chandigarh, Feb 8: With the agitation by a section of the Jat community gaining momentum in some districts, Harya Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Wednesday said political parties should desist from taking part in agitations. Khattar’s comment during a media interaction was made regarding the support extended by some political parties to the resumed agitation by the Jat community for reservation in the state.

“In a democracy, everyone has the right to demonstrate peacefully and within the ambit of law, but in case anyone tried to cross his limit and vitiate the peaceful atmosphere, he or she will be dealt with sternly,” Khattar said.

He said the protesting Jats could approach the five-member committee led by the state’s Chief Secretary and the doors of the Harya government were always open for them for talks. Anyone can meet him directly, the Chief Minister said.

Quoting precedents, Khattar defended his government’s decision to have only officers on the committee.

Khattar said he hoped the Jat grievances will soon be resolved. Following the resumed agitation by the Jats, the Harya government on Tuesday set up the five-member committee “to consider the demands and resolve the problems of those agitating for reservation” in the state.

Additiol Chief Secretary (Home) Ram Niwas, Principal Secretary Industries Devender Singh, General Administration Secretary Vijayendra Kumar and Additiol Director General of Police (Law and Order) Mohammad Akil are on the panel.

The BJP government’s move came in the wake of the resumed agitation by the Jats since January 29 in support of their demands and grievances. The agitation resumed by the All India Jat Aarakshan Sangharsh Samiti led by Yashpal Malik has seen protests in 19 districts of Harya. More protesters, including women, the elderly and children, have joined the agitation in the past week.

The protesters are seeking implementation of reservation for Jats, jobs for the kin of those killed during the earlier agitation of the community in February last year and action against officials who ordered the use of force on Jat protesters.

The Jat agitation in February 2016 left 30 people dead and over 200 injured. Harya has been on high alert in the wake of the resumed agitation due to bitter memories of last year’s large-scale violence. Rohtak, Sonipat, Panipat, Jhajjar, Jind, Fatehabad, Hisar and some other districts were the worst affected. (IANS)