The Prakash Singh committee 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 IAS and IPS officers, for mala fide and deliberate negligence.
Former IPS officer Singh said among 90 officials indicted by the panel, around 30% were from Rohtak, the worst-affected district during the quota violence. Though the contents of the report have not been made public, it is learnt that among officials against whom adverse remarks have been made by the panel included the then Haryana director general of police (DGP), then Rohtak range inspector general of police (IGP), then deputy commissioners (DCs) of Rohtak, Sonepat, Jhajjar and Hisar and then superintendents of police (SPs) of Kaithal and Jhajjar.
Taking to the media after submitting the report to chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Friday, Singh, said the panel did not find any deficiency on part of the intelligence wing of the state police. “It is an objective report prepared after a consensus within 71 days,” he added.
Govt to examine report
After receiving the report, Khattar said the government would examine it and take action against the guilty officials at the earliest. The panel did not recommend any punitive action against the indicted officials and left the ball in the state government’s court. “The committee kept constabulary out of its purview and only examined the role of sub-inspectors, inspectors, deputy superintendents of police and superintendents of police,’’ Singh said.
“On the civil administration side, the role of duty magistrates ranging from naib tehsildars to deputy commissioners was examined,” he added.He said the committee identified officials who turned a blind eye to the violence and allowed rioters to have a free run.
“The panel came across instances of negligence on part of officials. There were instances when officials deliberately allowed things to go out of hand and did nothing to control the situation. We have highlighted these wrongs. We have also made adverse remarks on the functioning of senior IAS and IPS officers,” he added.Citing an instance, Singh said: “In one subdivision, officials deliberately didn’t enforce the rule of law for about six hours, allowing anti-social elements to have a free run. There were instances of deliberate negligence. These are unpardonable.”
Officials didn’t perform their duty
The retired IPS officer said officials taking excuse of no clear instructions from the top were grossly mistaken. “The officials were empowered under the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) to act in such situations. They did not need directions to do their duty,’’ he said, adding that the state government would prepare an action-taken report on the probe report.
“Though it is the state government’s prerogative whether or not to initiate action on the findings of the report, I feel that a right message will not go if delinquent officials are not taken to task,” Singh said.
The report has been divided into two volumes, the main report of about 200 pages with equal number of annexures and the second volume
which has only 37 pages dealing with the role of the intelligence wing in context of riots which will remain confidential.
The panel which started investigations in early March has primarily focused on eight districts — Rohtak, Jhajjar, Sonepat, Jind, Hisar, Kaithal, Panipat and Bhiwani. Officials who indulged in dereliction of duty or who showed soft corner for the agitators allowing them a long rope have been identified. The committee has also made some recommendation to improve the functioning of the civil and police administration.
These would also be examined by the state government and suitable action would be taken. The state government would be taking expeditious follow-up action on the committee’s finding and recommendations. The state government had on February 25, 2016, appointed the panel to inquire into the acts of omission and commission on part of all officers and officials of both police and civil administration between February 7 and 22 when the Jat reservation agitation resulted in blockades of roads and national highways, violence and extensive damage to public and private properties in many districts.
The committee visited all eight affected districts, inspected the scenes of crime, gave patient hearings to the aggrieved and listened to all those who wanted to appear before the committee.
The committee heard 2,217 persons from different walks of life and statements of 395 persons were recorded on the spot. The committee also interacted with administrative and police officials in all districts.