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Deal reached to end Jat protests in Haryana

NEW DELHI: Members of the Jat community reached a deal late on Monday to end their protests that paralysed Haryana and cut water supplies to Delhi’s 20 million residents, a protest leader and a police source said.

A Jat community leader said protesters had reached an accord with state and union government leaders and would clear road blockades and end their agitation, in which 16 people have been killed and more than 150 injured.

“The government has promised to meet our demands and we have promised our full cooperation,” Ramesh Dalal, convener of the Jat Arakshan Andolan (Jat Reservation Movement), told Reuters.

Thousands of troops have been deployed to quell protests, which flared again in some towns on Monday. Disruption has been huge, with 850 trains cancelled, 500 factories closed and businesses estimating losses at $2.9 billion, officials said.

A compromise with the Jats brokered by Modi’s home minister on Sunday failed to get protesters to clear roadblocks that are paralysing transport and commerce.

“We will continue the protests. The government thinks we will succumb to their pressure tactics but they are making a big mistake by ignoring us,” Ramesh Dalal, convenor of the Jat Arakshan Andolan (Jat Reservation Movement), told Reuters.

Dalal said he had appealed to the entire Jat community, which makes up around a quarter of the population of Haryana, to return home after staging state-wide protests to demand more government jobs and college places.

A senior police officer said that state leaders had persuaded the Jats to call off their protests. “Our challenge is to keep the law and order situation under control,” the officer said, requesting anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter.

Days of rioting and looting by Jats had challenged Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s promise of better days for Indians who elected him in 2014 with the largest majority in three decades.

 

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