India’s capital is facing a major water shortage.
Delhi’s Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal called on the city’s 16 million residents to begin rationing supplies Sunday after volatile protests in a neighboring state knocked out a key water source. The minister also announced schools in the capital territory would be closed Monday.
Delhi gets about 60 percent of its water from the state of Haryana, the Associated Press reported. The state is now reeling from violent caste-related demonstrations.
The protests began last week when members of the Jat community began demanding greater benefits under India’s caste quota system and intensified during the weekend. Violence left at least 10 people dead and 150 injured across the state, the AP said. The demonstrations also damaged equipment in the Munak canal, which transports water to the capital.
Barring Prez,PM,CJI,defence installations,hospis,fire brigades- water to be equally rationed amongst all. Pl save water. Schools closed tomo
— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) February 21, 2016
India’s constitution includes a far-reaching affirmative action system that provides quotas for jobs and spots in educational institutions to people in lower castes. Last year, India’s Supreme Court removed the Jats from the list of castes benefiting from the system. The protesters are calling on the government to grant them recognition on that list again.
Community leaders and state government representatives met Friday but failed to reach an agreement, AP reported. Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lai Khattar has said the government is prepared to meet protesters’ demands “within the ambit of the constitution,” the BBC reported.
The violence has also forced the closure of major roads, highways and the rail system in northern India.
The local Delhi government has asked the Supreme Court to intervene in the water crisis. The national government may soon introduce legislation granting Jats recognition on the list of castes that receive benefits, Indian media said.