The week-old protests by members of the Jat community in the northern Indian state of Haryana continued Monday, but showed signs of winding down, while residents of New Delhi heaved a sigh of relief as the army took control of the capital’s water supply which had been disrupted by protestors.
The Munak canal, which reportedly supplies 60 percent of New Delhi’s water, had been taken over by the protestors who closed the sluice gates and damaged water treatment plants. The army, which had been called in to deal with the protests when they turned violent on Friday, retook the facility early Monday, and repair work was ongoing.
New Delhi’s Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal thanked the army and the central government on Twitter. It was unclear when the water would actually reach the national capital.
Thank u army, thank u centre for securing munak canal back. Great relief for delhi
— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) February 22, 2016
Earlier, Kejriwal had declared the closure of schools and rationing of water in New Delhi.
The protests in Haryana began on Feb. 14, demanding reservations in jobs, and turned violent on Friday, when protestors set fire vehicles, shopping malls, a gas station and the house of a local minister in the city of Rohtak.
The state government announced Sunday it would introduce a bill in the state assembly to include Jats as a special category within Other Backward Classes, a larger category for which job quotas already exist under India’s affirmative action system. Leaders of the Jat community said they want to read the fine print to understand what the proposed “special category” means, NDTV, a local news channel, reported.
Disruption caused by the latest round of protests by Jats included cancellation of 850 trains, closure of 500 factories and estimated business losses of about $3 billion, Reuters reported. According to BBC, the violence in the state also claimed 19 lives, while another 200 people were injured.