Haryana tense, army deployed in eight districts 

Rohtak/Chandigarh, Feb 20 (IANS) The situation in Haryana continued to remain tense on Saturday due to ongoing agitation carried out by Jat protesters, with army personnel deployed in eight districts.

Soldiers were airlifted earlier on Saturday to the violence-hit Rohtak town after the protesters dug up roads to block the entry of the military.

The agitation began as Jats are demanding reservation for the community in government jobs and educational institutions.

Looting and arson continued in the town through Friday night with unruly mobs targeting malls, shops and other buildings and many of them were set on fire.

Indian Air Force helicopters did several sorties to transport soldiers into some parts of Rohtak town.

“Around 20-30 troops were being brought into Rohtak town by choppers. They will be deployed in areas which are under siege of the Jat protesters,” a senior officer told IANS.

Authorities in Rohtak asked people not to venture out of their houses after 9.30 a.m. as the army prepared for a flag march.

The army staged a flag-march in Bhiwani town. Officials said that the situation was under control.

Reports said that national highway No. 1 (NH-1) was blocked by protesters in Sonipat district, 50 km from Delhi. The Delhi-Ambala railway track remained blocked since Friday evening. Hundreds of passengers were stranded as railway authorities cancelled several trains on the route.

Nearly 550 trains were either cancelled or diverted since the agitation began a week ago.

On Friday, the agitation that started a week ago, got even worse and resulted in the death of three people and dozens, including security personnel, were injured.

The mob also attacked the office of the Rohtak range inspector general of police (IGP) and set the house of Finance Minister Abhimanyu on fire.

Jat leader Hawa Singh Sangwan said that the youth have taken over the agitation.

“They do not have any organised leader and hence the violence is happening. Some mischievous elements have infiltrated the mobs,” he said.

Authorities have also blocked internet and SMS services in the affected districts.

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