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Death toll from India caste riots rises to 19

uns protest in india-2016SONIPAT, India (AFP) – The death toll from caste riots in northern India has risen to 19, a state government official told AFP on Monday, adding that the protests had eased overnight.

Authorities said some districts had now lifted a curfew imposed after the outbreak Friday of deadly riots in Haryana state by members of the Jat rural caste.

“Nineteen people have died and more than 200 are injured,” said Haryana additional chief secretary P. K. Das.

“There were a few clashes in parts of Bhiwani district overnight, where a curfew is still on, but the curfew has been lifted in other districts.”

Das also said a canal supplying water to Delhi had been cleared after it was blocked by protestors, triggering shortages in the capital that have forced schools to close.

The state government on Sunday agreed to the Jat community’s demand that they be given quotas for highly sought-after government jobs and for university places.

Members of the Jat caste say they are struggling to find work despite India’s strong economic growth.

India 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.

“Most of the road links have been restored in the state and we hope to be in control of the situation by the end of the day,” said Das.

Dosti Bus service and Samjhota Express between India and Pakistan have been suspended in view of the violent protests.

Dosti Bus service travels between Lahore and Delhi via Wagha border three times a week. It was started in 1999 and Indian Prime Minister (PM) Atal Bihari Vajpayee had come to Pakistan using this service. The service has been suspended in the past as well due to unstable relations between Pakistan and India.

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