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Jat Quota Stir and Violence in Haryana: Satendra Kumar

This is a guest post by SATENDRA KUMAR



There is an uncanny academic public silence over the Jat quota stir and the unjustified violence enacted during the stir in Haryana. The scale of violence and destruction is such that it competes for the worst instance of caste violence in Haryana’s post-Independence history. So far 30 people have lost their lives while over 200 people were injured in the nine-day violent Jat agitation demanding job quotas in Haryana. There is anger, fear and helplessness among those who lost their kin, homes, businesses and properties.At least 10 Haryana districts were severely affected by the violence. After such a huge loss, as if it was a routine, matter the Union Home Minister announced that a committee led by M Venkaiah Naidu will examine the demand by Jats for reservation in central government jobs.

In Haryana, the BJP’s government in the state has promised to bring a Bill granting OBC status to Jats in the upcoming assembly session. The Jats’ demand for reservations in the central OBC list is not new. Since 1995, Jats in Haryana have been demanding an OBC (Other Backward Class) status, which will help them secure the 27 per cent reservation in government jobs. Earlier in 1997, the Jats in Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh had demanded themselves to be included in the central OBC list. It was rejected by the National Commission for Backward Classes. Subsequently UPA government’s decision to include Jats from 9 states in the OBC list was also rejected by the Supreme Court in March 2015. Despite all this, political parties such as Congress and BJP continue promising quota to Jats during election campaigns. These promises have encouraged the Jats to organize and agitate for quotas. However, their agitations for reservations have not been so violent. That is why the most pressing and important question that needs analyses is why has the current agitation by Jats been so violent? Perhaps three factors will help us to understand this severe violence and loss of property worth crores of rupees.

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