The Prakash Singh panel, which submitted two volumes of inquiry report on the Jat agitation to Haryana chief minister on Friday, has ruled out any conspiracy behind the violence during the stir, leaving many in the ruling BJP and government red faced.
The panel constituted by the Haryana government to probe acts of omission and commission on part of police and civil administration officials during the February Jat quota violence has indicted 90 officials, including the then Haryana director general of police, then Rohtak range IG, four deputy commissioners and two superintendents of police for malafide and deliberate negligence.
Blow to Jha commission, BJP
However, the discarding of the conspiracy theory by the panel has also come as a blow for the Justice SN Jha Commission of Inquiry, which has been mandated to inquire into possibility of a deep-rooted conspiracy to damage the social fabric of the society and any such matter as may be found relevant in the course of the inquiry. While the Jha Commission has been constituted under a statute, the Prakash Singh panel did not have any statutory backing.
It has also punctured the argument of the ruling BJP that there was a political conspiracy behind the quota violence. Finance minister Capt Abhimanyu, whose Rohtak residence was attacked and torched by the miscreants, and chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar have on several occasion pointed out the conspiracy angle behind the violence.
The debunking of the conspiracy theory by Prakash Singh panel has also raised questions on the cases registered by the police against Prof Virender, an aide of former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, who was arrested on the charges of sedition, promoting enmity between different groups and criminal conspiracy etc on the basis of an audio clip. A Rohtak lawyer Sudip Kalkal and another Jat leader Manoj Duhan were also arrested by the police on the charges of sedition and criminal conspiracy.
When asked to comment whether there was any political conspiracy, Prakash Singh had on Friday said: “The charter of my committee was not to go into the political aspects. My committee was mandated to only probe the role of civil and police officers during the agitation. The panel has not gone into what was the role and involvement of the political leaders. The state government has set up Justice SN Jha Commission of Inquiry which has been mandate to probe the conspiracy angle. If there was any conspiracy, it would have been at a political level only.”
When asked for his response, Capt Abhimanyu said the mandate of the committee was to inquire into the role of officers only. “However according to media reports, Prakash Singh has clearly said that such violence could not have been possible without any big planning or co-ordination,”’ the minister said.
The discarding of the conspiracy theory by the panel probably has its foundation in the disclosures made by intelligence wing or the state CID to the panel. The two seem interlinked as the state CID, in its inputs and information shared with the state authorities, has nowhere indicated a conspiracy angle. “It is correct. In fact most of the things were in the public domain -- the meetings of the Jat organisations, khaps, their plan of action etc,’’ said an official, who did not wish to be named.
The Prakash Singh panel gave a clean chit to the intelligence wing in its 37-page second volume, saying it did not find any deficiency on part of intelligence wing during the Jat quota agitation. The panel relied on the disclosures made by the state CID on the quantum of information and specific inputs shared by the intelligence wing regarding the activities of the Jat quota leaders, organisations, khaps and related activities in eight months (from July 2015 to February 2016) with deputy commissioners, district superintendents of police, inspector general of police ranges, commissioners of police, director general of police and additional director general of police (law and order). In addition, daily intelligence reports containing details of meetings held by Jat organisations and their leaders, khaps and their plan of action were shared everyday with top officials like chief secretary, principal secretary to chief minister, additional chief secretary, home, secretary to governor, director general of police, ADGP, law and order, all range IGs and commissioners of police in Haryana, director, intelligence bureau etc. Thirdly, CID units in districts promptly provided intelligence alerts and inputs to district officials in writing, through WhatsApp and SMS and mobile calls regarding the latest developments on the Jat quota agitation.