Jat Protests: Officers Named, Will They Pass The Blame?

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Jat-quotaWe all remember the Jat stir that rocked the state of Haryana; one that saw over 30 deaths and a loss of nearly Rs 35,000 crores. The Army had to be called out for what could well be called the complete failure of state machinery, which the Prakash Singh committee investigated and submitted a report to Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar.

In the report, 14 SDMs and 14 SHOs have been indicted along with deputy commissioner, Rohtak, D K Behera, the then DC Sonipat Rajiv Rattan, DC Jhajjar Anita Yadav and the then DC Hisar Chandra Shekhar Khare. Apart from Ms Yadav, the three other deputy commissioners have been shifted out of their postings as of March this year. Ms Yadav also happens to be the sister of Haryana Vidhan Sabha’s deputy speaker Santosh Yadav, a BJP MLA from Ateli assembly constituency. IPS officers which have also been named include IG (Rohtak range) Shrikant Jadhav, then Superintendents of Police, Abhishek Garg (Sonipat), Sumit Kumar (Jhajjar) and Krishan Murari (Kaithal) for negligence in performing their official duties.

Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar with Prakash Singh

Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar with Prakash Singh

In a further development, the Punjab and Haryana High Court passed a stay order on the reservation quota for Jats among five other communities which was passed unanimously in the Haryana Assembly after the stir. In a Public Interest Litigation filed by Mr Murari Lal Gupta of Bhiwani, the stay was passed by the bench headed by Justice SS Saron on the basis that the legislation passed by the Haryana assembly was tantamount to judicial review by the legislature, which the legislature is not empowered to do so. The matter of Jat quota was also heard by the Supreme Court in 2015 and was dismissed on the basis that the Jats were not socially, educationally and politically backward.

In other words, the government tried to change a court order despite the Supreme Court having passed the judgement and quashing the case.

The entire situation shows the obvious measures taken by various people in power, who have tried to keep their power through a variety of methods, including putting lives at risk by inaction during the worst of the violence in the state. There were many alleged reports of police officials and district administration refusing to help either out of fear for personal safety or siding with the rioting mobs who were torching cars and buildings across several districts in the state.

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As had been said in the Liberhan Commission report when they presented the findings with regards to the Ayodhya-Babri Masjid demolition –

For some, the temptation of power is supreme. The usual means of acquiring the power is through politics. There is always an urge and quest to use politics for acquiring power and for one’s own purpose – nothing matters beyond political desirable results, however achieved. In the process of acquisition of power, the consequence of the process on the institution, the nation, individuals and society as a whole does not matter. Life itself becomes politicised.

Life didn’t just get politicised, it got violent. Over 30 people lost their lives. Allegations of mass rapes have arose, which were earlier brushed by the Haryana Police only to gain more momentum. They later came back to haunt them. It remains to be seen what the Haryana Government, which passed the Jat quota unanimously (and some would comment in a very prompt and meek manner), does on the basis of the report.

Ranveer Raj Bhatnagar

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The Viewspaper

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