The northern Indian state of Haryana is bracing for a fresh round of protests by the Jat community, which has been demanding better recognition from the government. The protesters have given a 15-day ultimatum to the state government to implement their proposals.
Scores of security personnel have been deployed to prevent the agitation from getting out of hand. Earlier demonstrations in February killed about 30 people and injured hundreds of others. Those who belong to the marginalised Jat community have been seeking quotas in government jobs and educational institutions.
"Apart from the state police, 4,800 paramilitary personnel have been deployed in all sensitive areas and the administration is on high alert to prevent any untoward incident," said Haryana government's Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Ram Niwas, according to News 18.
The central government has also dispatched reinforcements in case of any emergency. In key districts, mobile and internet services have been suspended.
Following days-long intense protests by the Jats, the government was forced to cave in to their demands in February. The administration promised reservations would be introduced in May, but the proceedings were stopped by a court order seeking a review.
"If people sit on protest at places which have not been specified for the purpose, they would invite stern action against themselves. If any untoward incident occurred at such a spot because of any leader or any other person, that person would be held responsible for the untoward incident. Areas have already been specified for protests," added Niwas. So far, much of the campaign has remained peaceful. The protesters have promised not to disrupt key highways and train lines but warned they would step up their agitation if their demands are not met swiftly.