1 dead as India protests for caste benefits turn violent

AP News
|
Posted: Feb 19, 2016 1:22 PM
1 dead as India protests for caste benefits turn violent

NEW DELHI (AP) — India's paramilitary forces shot and killed one person on Friday as protests for government benefits turned violent in the northern part of the country, police said.

Thousands of people belonging to the Jat agricultural community were protesting in Rohtak and other towns in Haryana state. They demand a 10 percent increase in their caste quota benefits, which include guaranteed government jobs or university spots.

The New Delhi Television (NDTV) news channel put the death toll at three and said protesters also burned vehicles, shops and a state minister's home.

Police officer Saurabh Singh said up to 20 people were injured in the clashes in Rohtak as protesters shot at paramilitary forces and hurled rocks. The town is 70 kilometers (45 miles) west of New Delhi.

The injured included one paramilitary soldier shot by a protester, Singh said.

Authorities imposed a curfew in Rohtak and Bhiwani towns and ordered police to fire without warning at those rioting. State authorities asked the Indian army to deploy soldiers to control protests which have spread to other towns in the state.

India's constitution includes a system of affirmative action for people in the lowest castes to help them overcome discrimination. The government has expanded the number of groups qualifying for quotas, called reservations.