Jat reservation row to intensify after fasting protestor dies

Last Updated: Thu, Mar 24, 2011 13:50 hrs

An agitation by the Jat community in Haryana is set to intensify after a protestor, on hunger strike for 12 days, died on Wednesday.

The Jats, belonging to a martial and agrarian community, have been demanding 27 percent reservation in government jobs and academic institutions.

The protesters on Thursday said they will step up the agitation after the sixty-year-old protester, Vijay Singh Karwadhra, died at Mehuwala village in Fatehabad district.

Protestors said they would not let Karwadhra's martyrdom go in vain.

"Vijay Singh Karwadhra was on indefinite hunger strike. He sacrificed his life for the Jat community and we would not let his martyrdom go waste. He had to sacrifice his life because of the government's wrong policies therefore we would continue to block the railway track until we get reservation. We would keep the body on the track until we get any orders from our office," said Mahesh Singh, a protestor.

The Jat leaders cancelled their meeting with state chief, Bhupinder Singh Hooda, in the national capital New Delhi on Thursday following the death of Karwadhra.

Protestors have blocked railway tracks at nearly 15 places across Haryana, hitting train services, with several trains off schedule and many remain cancelled.

The Jats are considered a wealthy class although in a couple of states they are bracketed with other backward classes that enjoy quotas.

The Indian government has reserved about half of all jobs and seats in state colleges and universities for lower caste people and tribal groups in an attempt to flatten centuries-old social hierarchies. (ANI)