Delhi: Jats today called off their quota agitation scheduled for Monday in the national capital, following a truce that was reached after a meeting between the leaders of the community and the Haryana government.
Jat leaders decided to call off their agitation after a marathon four-hour meeting with Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar and two Union Ministers Birender Singh and P P Chaudhary who both are Jats.
"Centre and state will soon begin the process of giving reservation, following the Delhi High court order," Khattar told reporters in a joint press conference along with All India Jat Aarakshan Sangharsh Samiti (AIJASS) Chairperson Yashpal Malik.
He also appealed to people in the state to cooperate in maintaining peace and harmony.
"Ab Jat Dilli na aa rahe (Now Jats are not coming to Delhi). We have called off our agitation and march towards Delhi. The state government has agreed to our demands," Malik told reporters after the meeting.
He added that the community will call off its dharna from most of the places in the state, barring few where it will continue with symbolic protests.
Besides quotas, the Jats have been demanding release of people jailed during last year's agitation, withdrawal of cases slapped during the protests and government jobs for the kin of those killed and injured while taking part in the stir.
The Jats have been sitting on dharna in various parts of Haryana since January 29.
"The government will now work according to the law and will undertake a survey and check ground realities so that the decision that we finally take will stand in court," P P Chaudhary," Minister of State for Law and Justice said.
He added, "The reservation process will expedite after appointment of National Commission of Backward Classes (NCBC) chairperson and we want to ensure reservation for the community which is not stuck anywhere due to legal issues".
A Haryana ministerial panel led by senior Minister Ram Bilas Sharma had held talks with the Jats in Panipat on March 16, after which the minister had said that an agreement had been reached with the community and the deadlock could end soon.
Around 30 people were killed and more than 300 people injured when a similar agitation by the Jats had resulted in large-scale violence in Haryana in February last year.
In view of the planned march tomorrow, prohibitory orders had been clamped in Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan to stop the Jat protesters from entering Delhi.
About 24,700 paramilitary personnel had been mobilised to maintain peace. Metro and road transport has been curtailed and several schools have been closed in the national capital.
Khattar said the two sides firmed up the latest decisions with a "consensus" arrived between them.
He added that as part of the decisions made, the Haryana government will "re-assess cases registered between 2010-17 on the protesters and Jats will get full justice".
"The next of kin of the killed and handicapped during these protests will be provided permanent jobs. Also, all those who were injured during protests will be provided their compensation quickly.
"The role of the officers will also be probed and we will take strict action against the guilty after investigation. All this will be done quickly and in a time-bound manner so that Jats gets justice. This is our desire and we believe that this issue will get resolved," he said.
He added that as soon as the Chairman and members of the NCBC are appointed, the process of reservation for Jats will be initiated at the Centre.
"With regard to Haryana, the bill for reservation is pending in the High Court and as soon as the decision comes, we will begin the process to include them in the 9th Schedule of the Constitution," he added.
The CM added there was no "arm twisting" of the government by the Jats adding it was a "genuine" demand of the community and that the BJP government had agreed to it in the past.
"These talks were essential for justice (to Jats)," Khattar added giving reasons for today's meeting in Delhi.
He said some incidents of violence in Haryana have been reported today and a probe will take place and the guilty will be punished.
"When such big incidents happen, such events (of violence against police personnel and media) cannot be ruled out. Small and big incidents do take place. We know about the incidents that took place in the past and to take action in such cases is the work of the government.
"What were the deficiencies (during last protests) you know very well...when some incident takes place, you don't go behind it, but you go ahead. You assess it," Khattar said when asked if all cases against Jat protesters of arson and violence will be closed.
When asked if the decision to finally allow reservations for Jats will open a Pandora's Box and other communities too will start demanding it, he replied saying "not at all".
Jat leader Malik added they "hope that Jats will get full justice from the government."
"I can say that we have full trust on the intentions of the government. We have assured the government that the 'Dilli Chalo' programme of the Jats for March 20 has been postponed and Jats will now not reach Delhi."
When asked what is the timeline decided between the two sides for the government to implement the five-point agenda today, he said it will be "as per self-understanding of some officers, Jat community members and ministers of the government".
"They will tell us the timeline and we will see that it is done in that time," Malik said adding "we will reach out to all our members in the next few days".
He said the media was presenting incorrect facts by saying that Jats are seeking reservation quota for themselves.
"We got reservation in 1991 only but it was finished by the Bhajan Lal government in 1994 due to political revenge. Is it correct that Jats get reservation in nine states but not in Centre? Media is making a fool of everybody that Jats are asking for reservation...we are not asking for it..we had got it in states since 20 years but we are not getting it in the Centre," he said.
He also charged the previous government of fooling Jats by promising reservations just a day before polls.
MoS Law Chaudhary added, "The reservation given by the UPA government was not in adherence with law. BJP government wants that right thing is done so that such incidents (protests and violence) do not get repeated".