February 20th, 2016
Image Courtesy: Times of India
What has happened so far?
The Jat community’s reservation stir has flared up for the second time in a year. The agitation, this time, has resulted in many essential transport services being crippled, one fellow citizen losing his life, army being called on to many districts in Haryana to bring the situation under control besides immense damage rendered to public vehicle’s.
1.) At least three people were killed and nine others were seriously injured today in Rohtak, Haryana, as police opened fire on Jat protesters seeking reservation.
2.) The protesters also went berserk and set Haryana Finance Minister Captain Abhimanyu’s house and a police vehicle on fire. Shoot-at-sight orders have been issued in curfew-bound city areas of violence-hit Rohtak and Bhiwani in Haryana.
Where does the issue stand right now?
The Government stands in a very tough situation where it had earlier granted reservation to Jats which was struck down by the Supreme Court. The government is struck between protestors and the Judicial system. Both governments have shown willingness for Jats reservation even though they are aware that it will not pass the test of law.
The Jats constitute about 2% of country’s population and are spread over several states in north India from Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, UP, Madhya Pradesh (MP) and Gujarat. In Haryana Jat’s constitute, 29 % of the population and the percentage vary to 10 PC in Rajasthan. The reservation demands for Jat’s has long been an issue which had reaped political dividends for the political parties. Mr Hooda from the Congress won the previous election on the plank of the provision of reservation to Jat’s. While the BJP officially have supported quota for Jats but noted that the issue had become “complex” after the Supreme Court struck down the decision of the previous government in this regard and then quashed a review petition as well.
How much does Jat’s reservation demands hold ground?
Let us look at few arguments
1.) Asking For Lot – Jat’s are by perception considered to be a well-off caste with large land holding present at their disposal. The National Commission For Backward Classes had informed the earlier Congress government that Jat’s don’t pass the criteria of a Backward class. Jat’s are considered to socially and economically influential in Haryana and Punjab. Adding to this the Supreme Court had struck down on the 10% reservation given to Jat’s besides quashing the review petition on the case as well. Despite this, Jat leaders who are part of the agitation want “reservation for Jats separately and not with other castes i.e caste-based reservation in the OBC category, not on the basis of their economic condition.
2.) Many of the Jat’s themselves have voiced their opposition to the reservation demands and have condemned politics and passion around the issue of Jat reservation.
The Logical Indian condemns the arson and public property damage caused by the people who had gathered for the protest. Yes, it is any community’s democratic right to demand measures to uplift themselves, however, at any cost violent protests cannot be accepted and condoned. We request the protestors to return to democratic form of protests and also the government to consider their demand and begin an elaborate consultation process with all stake holders. Post – consultation we request the government to communicate clearly, with facts, if reservation is possible or not and put an end to the issue once and for all. Too often the issue of reservation to Jats has been leveraged for political dividends at the cost of social stability. We hope common sense and wisdom will prevail among the administration and the protestors.