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Rohtak agitation: Time for action against ‘negligent’ officers

Haryana Jat Quota Updated: Feb 26, 2016 10:19 IST
Neeraj Mohan

People stand behind damaged motorcycles and a van that were set alight by protesters during a demonstration by members of the Jat community in Rohtak, in Haryana.(Reuters Photo)

It is time for the Rohtak police and district administration officers to face action for their alleged failure to stop violence in the city despite deployment of about 2000 police and army men.

“The officers may pay heavy price for their negligence as they failed to prevent the people, and private and public properties from the agitators, besides having a big strength,” a senior officer of the state government said, requesting anonymity.

When asked about how the government will identify such officers, he said, “The government has deputed some officers to collect working information of all these officers who were holding key positions in riot-hit areas, but did nothing to stop the violence”.

According the sources, 12 DSPs, 12 inspectors, 32 sub-inspectors, 63 ASIs, 152 head constables and 824 constables of the Haryana Police were on duty in Rohtak district to monitor the law and order situation during the agitation -- besides a company of BSF -- but they failed to control agitators, who were given a free hand.

After registration of FIR against former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda’s close associate Prof Virender, now the government is collecting work records of its officers, who had close association with Hooda and other political parties and were appointed on the key positions in riot-hit districts, especially in Rohtak.

For quick action, the state government has already decided to form a committee under former police chief of Uttar Pradesh -- Prakash Singh -- for action against erring officials while chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar made it clear that strict action will be taken if anyone was found guilty of failure.

The Rohtak police has swung into action and about 300 people, most of them youths, have already been booked for their involvement in arson and loot. 69 have been arrested.

“Yes FIRs being registered and a special team of the district police works silently to identify people who were involved in the violence,” said a senior officer of Rohtak police.

“We are taking help from people to send pictures and video clips of riots to identify such persons,” he said adding, 62 FIRs have been registered so far on the complaint of victims.

Rohtak superintendent of police, Shashank Anand, who was on training leave during agitation, said, “Soon after my joining, I have held a meeting with the police officers. We are registering FIRs against the agitators on the complaints of victims.”

There are reports that despite orders by the state government to not leave the station, about 30-40% officials remained absent from government offices in affected districts and a list is being prepared with the help of biometric attendance chart.

Women helpline remains cold

Like senior police officers, the much hyped 1091 women helpline of Rohtak police remained cold during the agitation, for unknown reasons.

However sources in the Rohtak SP’s office revealed that no phone calls were received from February 19 to 22 on the women helpline and 368 complaints were received during this period on the general helpline 100.

The lack of communication between the women police station and police control room has also come to fore as the operators of the women helpline said that they had received calls during the agitation but the number of calls were very few.

“Only 1 phone call was received on February 21 and 3 phone calls were received on February 20, when the violence was on peak,” the operator said, showing the entry register.

She said, however, that 12 and 17 calls were received on February 22 and on Feb 19, whereas 27 phone calls were received on February 18.

Rohtak women police station incharge, Garima, said, “We have mentioned the complaints we received from helpline and forwarded them to the concerned police station.”