Feb 24: The Jat protest, which has seen miscreants damage public property with the amount running into crores, and blocking the national highway causing commoners to be stranded for days, has portrayed the community and the state of Haryana in a bad light. However, with three Jat women wrestlers winning medals in the recently-concluded Asian Championships in Bangkok, it’s an achievement the community can be proud of in such times of turmoil.
Anita, Vinesh and Priyanka all hail from Haryana and more importantly, from Bhiwani, one of the centres of the Jat agitation. While Priyanka won silver in the 55kg category; Vinesh (53kg) and Anita (63kg) clinched bronze in their respective events.
“When we won the medals in the Asian championship we were very happy and excited that we, Haryana girls, have made the country proud. But the day we returned and came to know about the protests and incidents, it ruined our happiness. The feeling of pride of hailing from Haryana vanished,” said Vinesh, who had also won medals in the 2014 Asian and Commonwealth Games. “Because of some anti-social elements and politicisation, the protest has taken a wrong direction, damaging public property. The episode has brought a bad name to the state and tarnished its image in the country,” added the 21-year-old.
Vinesh and Priyanka (22) are the younger sisters of the famous Phogat wrestlers – Geeta and Babita. Ritu, another sister from the family, was also part of the Asian squad but missed a medal by a whisker. They hail from the Jat-dominated village of Balali in the Bhiwani district.
Ankita, the 2010 Commonwealth Games gold medalist, is an inspector with Haryana Police and hails from another Jat-dominated village. The 31-year-old, who got married last year, is from Dhani Mahu village in the same district.
“There are ways to protest and put your demands across. By damaging public property people have made their own loss. Now, it’s we (referring to Haryana), who have to bear the cost of the damage,” said Priyanka. “Over the years, a lot of development had taken place in Rohtak. But during the protests a lot of damage was done that has caused a setback,” Vinesh added.