Agreement reached between the government and Jama 10 million people still without water
The state representatives have succumbed to the demands of the Jat community: downgraded and included among quota for government jobs. The Jat are an influential caste, which has at least 10 elected chief minister in Haryana and controls a third of the state assembly. The protests have left 20 dead and more than 200 injured, with an estimated damage of 2.5 billion euro.
New Delhi (AsiaNews / Agencies) – Late yesterday evening an agreement was reached between the state government and federal representatives of India and the Jat community, which had blocked the water supply of the capital, leaving one of the most populous cities in the world - with over 18 million inhabitants -dry.
The demonstrators suspended the sabotage of Munak canal flowing in the State of Haryana and supplies for three-fifths water reserves of Delhi.
Delhi’s Minister of Water, Kapil Mishra, has, however, stated that "the emergency is not completely settled" and called on the population not to waste the resource, since some areas are still inaccessible by supplies and 10 million people are likely to remain without water for several hours.
For about 10 days the members of the Jat community gave rise to violent protests in some districts of Haryana. In clashes between protesters and the federal army, deployed en masse to disperse the people camped on the streets and around the Munak channel, there were 20 dead and at least 200 injured.
The Jat, farmer-warrior communities, blocked all the main roads. The economic crisis of recent years has drastically reduced the earnings of farmers and led to a decline in lending in the private sector. This is why the farmers protested, asking to be considered among the disadvantaged classes. They have forced the authorities to cancel about 850 trains to the capital, close 500 stores and schools of the areas affected by the protest.
Today schools were reopened and the water is returned to flow partially from the taps.
Estimates report significant damage: about 2.8 billion dollars (2.5 billion euro) lost in the days of the violence,
in addition the channel was damaged, whose basin is designed for continuous water flow.
The strict Indian law classifies Jat among the upper castes. They are landowners and their communities are considered rich and influential. They reside in many Haryana, which account for 27% of the population, out of a total of over 25 million (according to 2011 census).
The cast members include 10 chief ministers and the community dominates the state assembly with a third of the 90 seats.
Always inserted in the upper castes, the Jat need to be "downgraded" as "Other Backward Castes" (OBC), a kind of middle cast between the high and the poor. Since the early 1990s, the state reserve several benefits for education and employment to these "backward" castes, including a 27% quota of places of public administration.
The Jat suspended the protest because the government has accepted all their demands: to be considered among the OBC and included among the beneficiaries of public quotas. Some experts, however, have cast some doubt and fear that this "act of force" can only benefit an already privileged class, denying resources to those who really need them.