The Jats of Haryana have called off their protest and promised not to block the Indian capital city, at least for now. The Jats were planning to march into Delhi in large numbers in protest as their demand for reservation in government jobs in Haryana state had not been met.
Who are the Jats and what do they want?
The Jats are a farming community and they account for a large part of Haryana’s population. As families grew and the size of the land held by the Jat farmer grew smaller (as it was divided among more people), the Jats began demanding job reservation. Under the government’s job reservation rules, a certain percentage of government jobs are kept for people of certain groups. The Jats want the government of Haryana to declare them a ‘Backward Caste’ because such a label will get them reservation in government jobs.
The protests for this have been happening each year since 2012 but things got bad last year when the Jats cut the water supply to Delhi. This year, starting March 20, they were planning to march into Delhi and block Parliament. There were also plans to block supplies of goods coming into Delhi. Fearing this, the government had appointed more policemen to guard the city’s borders.
Students can relax
The Jat agitation would have also disturbed thousands of students appearing for Class 10 and 12 board exams as roads leading to Gurgaon (which is in Haryana and where many schools are located) would have been blocked. Luckily, with the Haryana government holding talks with the Jats and agreeing to look into their demands, the protest has been called off for now.