Jat khap panchayats may have to pay Rs. 33.95 Crore

Jat khap panchayats may now have to pay up Rs 33.95 crore to compensate the loss and damage they caused by blocking rail and road traffic in Haryana’s Jind district for 11 days in January to protest the arrest of their youth in the Mirchpur caste violence incident. Northern Railways and Haryana government, under a court direction, computed the loss and damage due to the agitation. The state government said protesters blocked traffic by felling 3,130 trees causing damage to the environment. The removal of the trees cost Rs 90,000 to the exchequer. Moreover, the repair of damaged buses would cost Rs 2.5 lakh. A Bench comprising Justices G S Singhvi and A K Ganguly asked the Centre and the state government headed by Bhupinder Singh Hooda, who had referred to the khap panchayats as social organisations, to file affidavits detailing the steps proposed to be taken to recover the loss from the protesters.The case will come up for hearing on February 28. On January 31, the Bench took a serious view of blockage of rail and road traffic to and from Jind in Hissar from January 11 by a conglomerate of 12 khap panchayats, which demanded release of upper caste persons accused of torching a dalit hamlet in Haryana’s Mirchpur hamlet killing a 70-year-old man and his disabled daughter. It had asked both Northern Railways and Haryana government to quantify the losses due to the khapsponsored agitation. “How can the government allow a sizeable section from using public transport? You were absolutely helpless,” the court had said.

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