(London Post) With an ensuing water shortage in Delhi, politicians praised the army’s move, calling it a “great relief.” But Jat caste leaders have vowed to continue protesting, prompting fears of a widening fallout.
Violent caste riots engulf northern Indian state
Members of the Jat caste in the neighboring Haryana state launched protests last week demanding more access to government jobs and places in institutions of higher education.
The protests effectively paralyzed road and rails links before the government submitted to their demands on Sunday. The demonstrators were also able to cut off the water supply to the nation’s third largest city, prompting fears of a water crisis.
Some protest leaders said they would continue their demonstrations despite the government’s promise to provide more opportunities to members of the Jat caste.
“We will continue the protests. The government thinks we will succumb to their pressure tactics, but they are making a big mistake by ignoring us,” Ramesh Dala, convener of India’s Jat Reservation Movement, told Reuters news agency.
The Jat caste, comprising a quarter of Haryana’s population, is a relatively well-off class of landowners that have been impacted by India’s population growth and two years of drought.
The protests echoed similar demonstrations by the well-off Patidar and Patel castes in August that also called for great opportunities in civil administration and universities.
“This is an emotional issue, reservation is an emotional issue. Therefore, many people are involved. Expectations of people from a particular community is that they should get reservation, said Haryana Home Secretary PK Das, referring to government-established quotas for certain castes, reported Press Trust of India.
Although the caste system in India is officially abolished, caste membership is widely recognized at a societal level.