CHANDIGARH (Web Desk) – India’s Jats demanding better conditions for their caste have accepted a state government offer, as army troops established control over a blocked canal that supplies much of the capital’s water.
Authorities in the northern state of Haryana said on Monday they expected that order would be restored after apparently reaching a deal with leaders of the Jat caste, who said they were discussing whether to call off violent protests that have lasted more than a week.
At least 12 people have been killed in rioting by members of the Jat community, who had called for caste-based quota systems, according to the media reports.
The violence in Haryana also affected water supplies in the capital New Delhi as protesters cut off canal gates feeding treatment plants that supply a reported 60 percent of the city’s tap water.
More than 10 million people in India’s capital are without water despite the army regaining control of its key water source after protests, officials said.
Keshav Chandra, head of Delhi’s water board, told the BBC it would take “three to four days” before normal supplies resumed to affected areas.
Officials said that the state began lifting a curfew in key towns as protesters removed roadblocks. Thousands of troops with shoot-on-sight orders had been deployed to Haryana to quell the violence.
The week-long demonstrations turned violent on Friday with protesters setting fire to homes, shops and government buildings, as well as blocking motorways.
Authorities had urged people to ration water and Delhi schools were ordered to be closed before the security forces flushed out thousands of protesters overnight.
However, the crisis appeared to ease after the state government on Sunday agreed that the Jat community should be given quotas for highly sought-after government jobs and university places under India’s caste-based quota system.
Jats are the single largest community in Haryana, with nearly eight million members, and are traditionally a farming community.
They were angered by comments in recent weeks from a leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party, which rules the state and the nation, who opposed quotas for them.
India already sets aside a proportion of jobs and university places for Dalits, known as “untouchables”, and for other so-called “backward castes”, under measures intended to remedy centuries of discrimination.