February,20,2016: Here is why the Jat community is up in arms.
Who are the Jats?
* A north Indian martial and farming community not traditionally considered ‘backward’.
What is their Demand?
Jats have been demanding reservation in Central and State Government jobs for several decades.
Who granted them reservation?
* UPA Govt. issued Notification including Jat community in Central OBC list
Why reservation granted in March, 2014 taken back?
* Supreme Court quashes decision to include Jats in OBC category, saying caste can’t be sole ground for reservation
What did the CM Haryana offer them now?
* A special backward class quota; basis: economic status
Why did they reject it?
* They want to be in the OBC category
Here’s why …
* Jats make up 29% of Haryana’s population. They’re politically and economically well off. They’re better off in terms of education too. The demand to be declared OBC will help them corner the 27% OBC reservation in government jobs
Supreme Court on Jat Quota
* The Supreme Court said “social backwardness” key to determine backwardness — caste alone cannot be reason to grant reservation.
* If Haryana were to add a jat quota to the existing OBC (27%) +scheduled castes & scheduled tribes (22.5%), it would defy Supreme Court cap of 50% reservations.
Jat stir goes back to 1990s
Jats have agitated to be on the OBC list of the Centre & states, since VP Singh’s Mandal report of 1991.
* 1997: Their demand in Haryana, UP and MP to be in central OBC list rejected by the National Commission for Backward Classes
* 2002: The panel commissions a survey to review jats’ backwardness in six states, including Haryana and UP.
* Haryana’s surveys of jats compare them to higher castes, not the lower ones
* 2005: Congress’s Bhupinder Singh Hooda promises them a quota; he becomes CM
* March,2014: UPA issued Notification including Jat community in Central OBC list in Bihar, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, Rajasthan (two districts of Bharatpur and Dholpur), Uttar Pradesh, and Uttarakhand.
* 2014: Hooda includes Jats & four other castes under 10% specially backward class (SBC) quota
* July 2015: Specially backward class quota set aside by high court after SC refuses to accept the recommendations
* In March 2015, SC rejects Centre’s Notification to include Jats from 9 states in central OBC list: Haryana, Bihar, Gujarat, Himachal, MP, Delhi, Rajasthan, UP & Uttarakhand.
Jat Community was included in the List of OBCs in the States in question which are set out herein:
“(1) 03.11.1999 State of Rajasthan
(2) 10.03.2000 State of Uttar Pradesh
(3) 31.05.2000 NCT of Delhi
(4) 06.11.2000 State of Bihar
(5) 24.01.2002 State of Madhya Pradesh
(6) 16.11.2002 State of Himachal Pradesh
(7) 22.03.2010 State of Uttarakhand
(8) 24.01.2013 State of Haryana-As Special OBC
(9) Gujarat Not included”
What happened on Friday?
* Protesters break into home of state minister Captain Abhimanyu, try to set it on fire; burn his cars
* One killed when policemen fire on protesters who blocked a road near the Rohtak-Delhi bypass, burned a police jeep and other vehicles.
* Protestors block highways, rail tracks. Train services to MP, Rajasthan disrupted
* 40 trains passing through Haryana over two days cancelled
* Army called in eight districts
* Bus services stopped on many routes
* Schools shut down and Supplies of essentials hit
Reason behind the unrest
BJP’s conundrum is that its 2014 victory in Haryana was powered by Jat votes but the Jat reservation bogey has its leaders in a fix. The agitators have rejected the government’s offer of including Jats and four other castes – Jat Sikhs, Ror, Tyagi and Bishnoi – in the category of Economically Backward Persons (EBP) and increasing the quota of EBPs from 10 to 20 per cent. As Hawa Singh Sangwan, state head of the Akhil Bharatiya Jat Arakshan Sangharsh Samiti (ABJASS) put it, Jat leaders want “reservation for Jats separately and not with other castes in EBP.” They want caste-based reservation in the OBC category, not on the basis of their economic condition.
BJP’s problems have been exacerbated by the fact that its own Kurukshetra MP Raj Kumar Saini has been opposing the Jat demand, threatening to unite volunteers from 35 communities for a “direct action” against the protesters. He has argued that the Jat demand for reservation is “an illegal” one “completely unacceptable” to the state’s OBCs. His “OBC Brigade”, he says is ready to fight back because there is “no provision in the Constitution that gives share of reservation benefits of the OBC quota to the Jats.”
Part of the problem is that all political parties have fished in the troubled waters of Jat reservation. The UPA in March 2014 brought the Jats under the central list of so-called other backward classes (OBCs) in Bihar, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and the National Capital Territory of Delhi, Bharatpur and Dholpur districts of Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.
UPA did so despite the National Commission for Backward Castes (NCBC) expressly submitting a report to the central government on 26 February 2014 stating that the Jat Community had “not fulfilled the criteria for inclusion in the Central List of OBCs.
NCBC found that “Jats were not socially backward”, and not “educationally backward”. It similarly rejected the claim of “inadequate representation in public employment, finding them adequately represented in armed forces, government services and educational institutions.”
This is why the UPA decision was quashed by the Supreme Court on 18 March 2015, which found it legally untenable to admit Jats as a backward community at the central level.
Haryana’s politicians have played with Jat reservations for over two decades now. INLD’s Abhay Singh Chautala is supporting the demand and so is the Congress former chief minister Bhupendra Singh Hooda, who also championed it when he was in power.
The Army is out on the streets of Haryana and while it can keep the peace, solving this reservation mess will require a wider political consensus on caste, reservations and the race for downward caste mobility this has sparked off.
Lastly with the Jat agitation showing no signs of let up, the BJP government in Haryana on Saturday said it has “accepted” the demands of the community which is seeking quota under OBC category. Appealing to protesters to end their stir, Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar in a statement here Saturday afternoon asked agitators to “return to their homes as the Government has accepted their demands”, but did not elaborate.
Notably, Jats are miffed at the opposition of Kurukshetra MP Saini to Jat reservation. He had objected to giving reservation to Jats and had even threatened to resign if the OBC quota is affected.
Read Laws @ LatestLaws.in-
- National Commission for Backward Classes Act,1993
Read Full Text of Supreme Court Judgment on Jat Reservation Dt. 17th March,2015 –