More than 10 million people in India’s
capital, Delhi, are without water after
protesters sabotaged a key canal which
supplies much of the city.
The army took control of the Munak canal
after Jat community protesters, angry at caste
job quotas, seized it.
Keshav Chandra, head of Delhi’s water board,
told the BBC it would take “three to four days”
before normal supplies resumed to affected
All Delhi’s schools have been closed because of
the water crisis.
Sixteen people have been killed and hundreds
hurt in three days of riots.
At the scene: Defiant India protesters
stand ground in Haryana
Watch: What future for India’s caste
Sixteen million people live in Delhi, and around
three-fifths of the city’s water is supplied by
the canal, which runs through the
neighbouring state of Haryana.
Mr Chandra said that prior warnings meant
that people had managed to save water, and
tankers had been despatched to affected areas
of the city, but that this would not be enough
to make up for the shortfall.
The army took control of parts of the canal on
Monday morning, but repairs are expected to
take time.
The BBC’s Sanjoy Majumder, who is near
Delhi’s border with neighbouring Haryana
state, said protesters who have set up road
blocks are refusing to budge.
“We don’t trust them. Let’s get something in
writing. Let them spell it out,” one
demonstrator who refused to be named told
the BBC.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted
that the army was “trying to assess in how
much time water would reach Delhi and
whether any damage had been done to the
Protesters went on the rampage despite a
curfew and the deployment of the army, which
is reported to have opened fire on them in the
districts of Rohtak and Jhajjar.
Why are the Jats angry?
The land-owning Jat community is relatively
affluent and has traditionally been seen as
upper caste.
They are mainly based in Haryana and seven
other states in northern India.
Comprising 27% of the voters in Haryana
and dominating a third of the 90 state
assembly seats, they are a politically
influential community. Seven of the 10
chief ministers in Haryana have been Jats.
The Jats are currently listed as upper caste
but the demonstrators have been
demanding inclusion in caste quotas for
jobs and education opportunities that have
been available to lower castes since 1991.
In March 2014 the Congress-led national
government said it would re-categorise Jats
as Other Backward Castes (OBC), opening
the way to government job quotas.
But India’s Supreme Court ruled in 2015
that the Jats were not a backward
As jobs have dried up in the private sector
and farming incomes have declined, the
community has demanded the
reinstatement of their backward caste status
to enable them to secure government jobs.
Haryana state minister Ram Bilas Sharma said
the situation was returning to normal, traffic
had resumed on national highways and that
railway lines between Delhi and the cities of
Jaipur and Chandigarh had reopened.
Mr Sharma also confirmed that the
government would introduce a bill on
reservations and quotas for the Jat community
in the next assembly session, although he did
not say when that would be.
Meanwhile, India’s federal government has said
it will set up a top-level committee to look
into the grievances of Jats.
The violence had earlier forced the closure of
several key roads and national highways, and
paralysed the railway system in northern India

Source : BBC

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