Jat aarakshan protests: 50 lakh jats to join protests on March 20
“Both the governments – at the Centre and in Punjab – are taking our demands lightly over the last 33 days but we are prepared to wake up both of them; we are ready and willing to fight for this just cause as long as it takes."
After the inter-State agitation aimed at securing the reservation for Jats in educational institutions and government jobs organised at Jantar Mantar on Thursday, the protesters announced that the community would now lay a siege to Parliament and stage a blockade at the capital's borders on March 20.
Thousands of the community representatives from North India spanning Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh cheered ‘Jaat ekta (Jaat solidarity)’ when they protested at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar in a rally organised by the All-India Jat Aarakshan Sangharsh Samiti (AIJASS)
The rally kept police and security personnel on tenterhooks for much of the day. Sources in the security establishment put the number of protesters at the rally between 7,000 and 7,500. Leaders said this was a mere ‘trailer’ and the organisation’s actual strength would be seen at the protest planned on March 20
“The number of people who participated in the rally at Jantar Mantar is just a trailer of our actual numbers. We will return to Delhi on March 20 with so many feet on the ground that they will be enough to block its borders,” AIJASS president Yashpal Malik told The Hindu.
Malik said as many as 50 lakh protesters were likely to join the rally on March 20 and would “not move an inch from Delhi” till their demands are met.
Scores of buses and vehicles lined the two-kilometre-long stretch between Parliament Street and Jantar Mantar road; the traffic situation, however, remained manageable though the police had barricaded the protest area and no jams or congestion were reported.
“Both the governments – at the Centre and in Punjab – are taking our demands lightly over the last 33 days but we are prepared to wake up both of them; we are ready and willing to fight for this just cause as long as it takes,” Malik said in his address.
Protesters later marched towards Parliament and submitted a memorandum to authorities on their seven-point demands to be forwarded to both President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Malik said they were later detained at the Parliament Street police station for attempting to break through barricades in the vicinity of Parliament but were let off soon after.