The Haryana government has told the Punjab and Haryana high court that 2,110 FIRs (first information reports) were registered and 567 persons were arrested so far in connection with the Jat quota agitation in February, which left 30 people dead and property worth thousands of crores destroyed.
The figures, however, could turn out to be just a number to escape the wrath of the judiciary and the common people for now, as the state’s own track record suggests.
For instance, in the same affidavit filed in the court, the state has admitted that for the Jat quota violence witnessed in 2010 and 2012, of the 69 criminal cases registered, only one led to conviction. It says that in 19 cases, the accused were acquitted, and 26 people remained untraced. In 20 odd cases, the trial was still underway, the affidavit added.
The government’s response came in response to a contempt of court petition by an NGO, which had alleged that it was non-compliance of court orders that had resulted in loss of lives and property during the Jat agitation.
The Supreme Court, in a case related to destruction of public and private property, had directed states to take preventive measures to avoid violent protests and provide teeth to investigation agencies to deal with protesters.
The high court had also ordered implementation of the directions.
The Haryana government, however, said the police had not failed in controlling the violence. It said the police had made arrangements to maintain law and order and negotiations were held on several occasions, but that the agitation took a violent turn and the army had to be called in.
The large scale loss of property and life during this year’s Jat agitation happened despite the government having put in place a road map for 2012, which had promised to thwart any such occurrences in future and bringing those responsible for the previous violent stirs to task.
Additional chief secretary, home, P K Das, who filed this affidavit has made special mention of the fact that the high court order to implement the Supreme Court directions were passed in January 2013 but he had taken over only in November 2015.
“The respondents have already complied with the directions issued by the honourable court,” Das claims in the affidavit, seeking discharge of the rule.
The affidavit also reveals that although only 11 cases of settlement of damages were reported during the previous protests, they were yet to be settled.