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Posted at: Mar 21, 2017, 12:43 AM; last updated: Mar 21, 2017, 12:43 AM (IST)

Pause in Haryana

Wedge thrust between Jats and others stands exposed
As many as 24,000 paramilitary personnel were mobilised in the National Capital to keep the agitating Jats from inflicting any pain on the city; thousands of police personnel were out on the roads for several days in Haryana for the same reason. Metro and road transport were curtailed, schools were closed, Internet services suspended in many areas ahead of the threatened gherao of Parliament by Haryana Jats agitating for the acceptance of their demands. It is another matter that by now no one seems to be clear on exactly what the demands are, as reservation in jobs is now mentioned only in the passing.

In the end, neither have Jat leaders got anything more than what they were promised earlier, nor has the state government settled the tension for good. The people of the state, including the Jat community, must realise they have been taken for a ride by the leadership on both sides, and not without a cost to the state in the form of life and business being suspended for days, and another episode of violence in at least one district. If the “agreement” had to be as flimsy as it has turned out to be, why did the state have to be brought to the brink all over again? It need be noted that  the police this time put in a fairly professional performance. They stood their ground, exercising restraint even at the cost of injuries to many in their ranks. Few among the agitators were injured.

Historical fault lines in society cannot be addressed overnight, but elected governments of the day have the responsibility not to feed on the fears and suspicions among the various communities. The BJP has traditionally not seen a support base among the Jats in Haryana; and it would be no coincidence that the state leadership allowed leaders among them to stoke animosity. Jat leader Yashpal Malik, who does not have community wide following, too has done a disservice to his “own people” by giving hope through violent agitation. It is now the duty of both sides to ensure the current pause holds.

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