1 dead as protests for caste benefits turn violent in India

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India's paramilitary forces shot and killed one person on Friday as protests for government benefits turned violent in northern India, police said.

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

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

The injured included one paramilitary soldier hit by a bullet fired by a protester, Singh said.

New Delhi Television news channel said the protesters also burned cars, police jeeps and trucks, blocked traffic and even attacked a state minister's home and tried to set it on fire.

State authorities asked the Indian army to deploy soldiers to control protests which have spread to Jind, Bhiwani and some other towns in the state. The protesters demand that the state government raise their caste quota benefits from existing 10 percent.

Supplies of milk, vegetables, cooking gas and petroleum products have been disrupted in the towns affected. Rail services also were disrupted in Haryana 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.