BeyondHeadlines News Desk
New Delhi: A 62-year-old Jat protester, who was on a fast, died today in Fatehabad. The delegation that had come to meet Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, raised angry slogans and later headed towards Fatehbad. They may decide their future course of action by this evening.
The ongoing Jat agitation has forced train services to be suspended for the third week running, deadlocking travel in North India. The Jats are demanding a quota for their community in government jobs.
More than 1000 trains have been cancelled and around 400 trains have been diverted since the first week of March.
Gobind Soni’s family, on their way from Rajasthan to Delhi, was on the many families caught in the raging Jat protests in Hisar.
With no trains in sight, Gobind’s large family struggled to find seats in buses that were already jam-packed with fellow travellers like them who were stranded.
It took them three days to reach from Delhi to Rajasthan. And now their journey back home is not going to be easy either.
”Now we are facing all kinds of difficulties and have to spend more money,” says Gobind Soni.
It is not just the train services that have been hit, there has been a disruption in the supply of coal and several thermal power stations have been hit. Authorities fear a massive power shortage in northern India.
On Tuesday, the Barwala power plant in Haryana stopped operation in face of the Jat agitation which further paralysed freight movement and passenger train services to northern states.
At the railway stations, counters are only open to refund money to passengers and to make booking for the future.
”Because of the agitation, all trains are suspended and this is causing a huge backlog,” the Railways Area Officer there said.
Leaders of Jat Arakshan Sangharsh Samiti met at Narwana on Wednesday to decide whether to continue talks or not.
”On Monday we met the PM but we didn’t like his response. He is not willing to give us reservation in Haryana. On Wednesday our leaders met at Narwana to decide whether to continue talks with the PM or not. A decision is pending,” said Mahender Singh Ponia, GS, Jat Arakshan Sangharsh Samiti.
With a decision yet to be taken, on the ground, protests have intensified and there are no signs of letting up. As agitators contemplate blocking important roads in the days ahead, the logjam might get worse.