Former Indian Police Service officer Prakash Singh has said the deliberate police inaction during the Jat quota violence in February had a caste tinge to it.
The inquiry committee appointed to probe the acts of omission and commission on part of police and civil administration officials during the quota violence will submit its report by April end, Singh told HT on Friday. The quota stir had resulted in loss of lives, violence, arson, road blockades, including on national highways, and extensive damage to public and private properties in several districts.
Answering a query on whether proliferation of Jats in Haryana police ranks during the past 19 years led to inaction by the force during agitation, Singh, said it was rather unfortunate that caste shade was influencing the functioning of the police force in the country. “In Haryana it is the Jat slant while in Uttar Pradesh it is the Yadav angle,’’ said the former IPS officer who remained the police chief of Uttar Pradesh and Assam.
Asked whether he could sense conspiracy angle in the quota agitation and violence, Singh said finding this out was the mandate of the judicial commission of inquiry. “However, the conspiracy angle cannot be ruled out. Why Rohtak became the epicentre of the quota agitation this time? There is no such precedence,’’ he said.
Prakash Singh said they have heard over 2,200 persons, including officials, during the past month and a half and recorded their statements. The entire inquiry proceedings including the testimonies of the officers were videographed by the committee. Singh said the mere fact that they gave a patient hearing to each person who appeared before them had a pacifying effect on the victims of violence and arson.
The retired IPS officer who is credited for filing a petition in the Supreme Court to bring large-scale police reforms in the country has also been entrusted by the Haryana government with the task to undertake a thorough study of existing structures, procedures and systems for maintenance of law and order in the state and suggest improvements to prevent recurrence of such incidents. Singh said though he will help the state police improve its functioning, he was not keen to take up the role of an adviser to the chief minister or a post in the home department.