More than 100 intelligence alerts were allegedly ignored by the Haryana government since June last year, leading to large-scale violence in February during a fortnight-long agitation by Jats seeking reservation in government jobs, multiple sources told HT.
The fresh revelations come before a one-member commission of former IPS officer Prakash Singh submits its report -- likely by April-end -- on alleged lapses by police and civil officials during the Jat stir. Singh had told HT this week that police inaction during the initial days of the agitation was “deliberate”.
The violent quota agitation by the community that constitutes 26% of the state’s 2.64-crore population left at least 30 people dead and more than 320 injured. Besides, property worth crores of rupees was damaged in arson during the agitation that left the state paralysed for nearly two weeks.
The state government last month approved a bill for providing reservation to Jats by including them under a newly-created backward class category.
The government on Tuesday shunted out director general of police (DGP) Yashpal Singal for alleged failure to anticipate the violence despite intelligence inputs. Additional DGP of CID Shatrujeet Singh Kapur was transferred to crime branch. By the end of February, IGP (Rohtak range) Shrikant Jadhav, along with two DSPs posted in Rohtak, were suspended for alleged lapses.
Several police sources HT spoke to confirmed that facts gathered by probe teams now suggest that the violence was not as spontaneous as it was made out to be.
“Nearly 105 DSIs (daily summary of intelligence) comprising inputs about meetings held by Jat organisations and various khaps and their further plans of action were conveyed on a day-to-day basis to the government officials during the period (June 2015 to February 29, 2016),” a senior police official said.
Sources said the build-up was reported to the top brass in the Haryana government including the chief secretary, additional chief secretary (home), police headquarters, range inspector generals and commissioners of police in addition to the Intelligence Bureau.
Informal channels of communication with pro-reservation groups were also opened and meetings were arranged with senior functionaries of the state government to resolve the issue days before the agitation turned violent, the official added.
According to officials, the build-up to the pro-reservation protests taking a violent turn started in July, 2015 when the Supreme Court quashed a Central notification granting reservation to the Jats.
In December 2015, when the state election commission notified panchayat election schedule across Haryana, intelligence agencies had alerted the state government about the agitation in February by various Jat organisations and khap panchayats.
Sources pointed out that extra police and paramilitary forces were sent to Rohtak, Sonepat and Jhajjar – the three worst-affected districts -- on February 15, three days before violence erupted. But the local administration and police still failed to prevent the violence from spreading.
Violence began at Rohtak on February 18 after clashes between a group of Jat lawyers and members of non-Jat communities outside the district court complex.
On February 19, Army was called in at Rohtak.
“The pattern of advance deployment of forces in Rohtak, Jhajjar and Sonepat and timely requisitioning of Army prove that there was no lack of anticipation on the part of the police headquarters,” said a senior Haryana police officer on the condition of anonymity.
“The role of (some) police officers in containing the violence is being investigated and we are waiting for the commission to submit its report.”