The Jat Files
The BJP government’s reluctance to make the Prakash Singh committee report public reeks of a cover up
Hardnews Bureau Delhi
There may be some closure for those seeking answers to what exactly happened during the plunder and loot, murders and bloody mayhem during the violent Jat agitation in February earlier this year. The agitation had witnessed aggressive, gun-touting goons holding ‘I am Jat’ placards burning cars and destroying public property indiscriminately and in full public view. Perhaps, the most disturbing news from that time were the reports of gang rapes near on the Grand Trunk Road in Murthal in Haryana in the neighbourhood of Delhi. Till this day, the reports on assaults on women on the highway and fields are shrouded in mystery.
The report submitted by Prakash Singh, former Director General of Police of Uttar Pradesh and Assam, has stirred up the proverbial hornet’s nest as opposition leaders have started browbeating the government to make the report public. The report extensively analyses the intelligence failure and the sins of omission and commission which led to the riots and pillaging which took place in Rohtak, Jhajjar, Jind, Hisar, Kaithal, Bhiwani, Sonepat and Panipat. The Prakash Singh Committee submitted its report after interviewing a sum total of 2,217 people, which included a cross section of witnesses, officials and police officers. The report has indicted 90 officials, including both IAS and IPS officers.
As of now, there are unconfirmed rumours doing the round that the report has gone soft on IPS officers given that Singh is himself a former IPS officer. The BJP government led by Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar had recently suspended 13 civil servants including three Sub-divisional Magistrates (SDMs) and 10 Deputy Superintendents of Police (DSPs). This move did not go without criticism as opposition leaders such as Captain Ajay Yadav have gone on record to state that only junior level bureaucrats are being targeted while not a single senior bureaucrat has been penalised.
The most interesting revelation in the report, according to sources, is the ruling out of the ‘conspiracy angle’ by Singh. If this is true, then the BJP’s claim that it was the opposition which had primarily fuelled unrest falls flat. He has also pointed towards the fact that while local administrations sometimes tend to react with delay and indulge in dereliction of duty, he has never heard of an administration set-up collapsing completely as it did during the Jat agitation. While the opposition clamour for the report to be made public grows, the Khattar government could deem it politically expedient to let the report see the light of the day and nip a political crisis in its bud. A failure to examine the root causes of the agitation and a refusal to implement preventive measures for the future would only mean that someday in the future Haryana, known to be a business and industry friendly state, would not be much different from the lawless land depicted in the Anushka Sharma starrer NH-10.