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    Jats finally call off agitation, remove blockade

    Hisar (Haryana): The 23-day old agitation by Jat community in Haryana seeking quota in government jobs was finally called off on Monday. The Jat leadership has set September 13 as deadline for the Haryana government to implement the quota.

    The agitators removed the blockade of roads in Hisar district, including National Highway No 10 (NH-10) and other roads and railways tracks. Most of these blockades were near Mayyar village in Hisar district, 25 km from Hisar.

    The agitators also cremated the body of a youth, Sandeep, 20, who was killed in firing during a clash of the police with agitators last Tuesday.

    Jat leader Dharampal Chhot said a meeting of the Jat leadership with leaders of various Khaps on Monday decided to end the agitation for now.

    "We will see what action does the Haryana government takes on our reservation demand," Chhot said.

    Over 100 leaders of the agitating Jat community were released by the authorities in Haryana on Sunday evening, but the community leaders refused to call off the agitation immediately.

    The Bhupinder Singh Hooda government was left embarrassed Sunday after the Jats did not end their stir even after their leaders' release, despite the state government announcing that the agitation had ended.

    The leaders, who were arrested last week as the agitation seeking Other Backward Classes (OBC) category quota for Jats in government jobs turned violent, were released after courts in Hisar and Tohana towns allowed their release.

    The agitating Jats had set the condition that no talks would take place till their leadership was released.

    The stir by Jats left the Hooda government embarrassed on at least three occasions in the last fortnight. After talks with Jat leaders and those from Khaps (community courts), the Hooda government announced that an agreement had been reached with the agitators and that the agitation had ended. However, the Jats continued their agitation and blockades.

    Last week's violence had left one youth dead and nearly 25 others injured. The youth was killed in exchange of fire between the police and protesters.

    The body of the victim was kept in a glass coffin at the main agitation point since Wednesday, and the Jats refused to perform his last rites.

    Normal life was thrown out of gear in Hisar district and adjoining areas of Bhiwani, Jind and Rohtak districts as the agitating community continued their blockade of roads and railway tracks last week.

    Supplies of fuel and other essential commodities in the district had been severely hit during the agitation.

    Jats had decided to intensify their agitation after the Haryana government refused to release their leaders, and road and rail services to Delhi, Punjab, Rajasthan and other parts of Haryana were severely affected due to the blockade.

    The protesters also placed trees and boulders on the highways connecting Hisar with Delhi, Jind, Bhiwani and Chandigarh and also blocked the Hisar-Delhi and Hisar-Bathinda railway tracks.

    The Jats blame Hooda for going back on earlier promises and using delaying tactics and force to break up the agitation.