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Govt abdicated role, was mute witness, says Haryana rights panel chief

'There was chaos in the state between February 19 and February 23. People were helpless. Nobody was safe. We had to intervene,' said the former Punjab and Haryana High Court Chief Justice.

Written by Maneesh Chhibber | New Delhi | Published: March 8, 2016 3:49 am
jat quota agitation, jat quota stir, Haryana, Haryana State Human Rights Commission, Haryana rights panel, Justice Vijender Jain, Punjab and Haryana High Court, indian express, india news, jat quota agitation updates Jat quota agitation. (Express Photo by Gajendra Yadav)

PEOPLE in Haryana felt helpless in the face of violence and rioting — during the Jat quota stir — while the police and civil administration watched as “mute witnesses,” said Haryana State Human Rights Commission Chairperson Justice Vijender Jain (retd) Monday. It was this that necessitated the commission’s intervention, he said.

Speaking to The Indian Express, the former Punjab and Haryana High Court Chief Justice said: “What could we do? There was chaos in the state between February 19 and February 23. People were helpless. Nobody was safe. We had to intervene.”

On Sunday, in an unprecedented order, the Commission had invoked Section 13 of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993, to issue notices to the state of Haryana, Principal Secretary to the Haryana Chief Minister, Home Secretary and the state DGP.

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Section 13, which deals with powers of the commission with regard to inquiries, empowers it with powers of a civil court trying a suit under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908. Simple put, the Commission can summon and enforce the attendance of witnesses and examine them on oath, record evidence, requisition any public record from any court or office. This section is rarely put to use.

“The rioting was similar in scale to what this country witnessed during the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, which the nation has not forgotten even today. Innocent persons were killed, large-scale looting and arson took place, 17 railway stations were burnt, one police station was burnt.

While all this happened, there was no government. It was complete abdication of authority by the administration and the government. The government officers, who were responsible for ensuring peace and protecting the lives and liberty of the citizens, failed miserably to do so. They will be held responsible and strictest action possible will be taken,” Justice Jain said.

Saying that Supreme Court has held that protestors who destroy property are liable to be punished and asked to make good the loss, Justice Jain said in the case of Jat stir in Haryana the loss is estimated to be over several hundred crores. “Somebody will have to pay for causing such a huge loss. We will look into it. When people elect a party to power, they expect a government which will ensure transparency, efficiency, corruption-free administration and protection of their life and liberty. Failure to do so is violation of the human rights of the citizens. We have taken suo motu cognisance of the incidents and issued notices,” he added.

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  1. Anil Kumar
    Mar 8, 2016 at 1:11 am
    Today I am sharing my views about the jat quota stir handled by this government without going into the merits and demerits of their demands.Public have right to ask questions to its elected government.We elect a government to govern and ensure safety and prosperity of its citizens. It should live up to expections of its people and never discriminate to anybody on the basis of cast,creed and religion. Be it a powerful section or underprivileged, all are equal in the eyes of state and voices of both sections should be heard and heeded to with giving equal importance.Jat quota stir is not new for Haryana 2010 also, jats had demanded their inclusion in the obc list aggressively and adopted likewise strategy i. e blockade of rails androads. In that time also public suffered a lot of inconvenience. The difference to this time was only that they didn't cause such a huge damage to publicandprivate property. On that occasion, The H'ble High Court reprimanded the state government for its failure in maintaining law and order and directed to recover huge losses incurred to the government from the protesters'pockets. But nothing happened and people were let off freely with giving 'rewards'.This kind of functioning of a government sets a wrong precedent for future. The current agitation was the result of inaction by the previous government which was repeated this time also by the present one. The government was nowhere seen amid violence allowing agitators to do what they wanted.It resulted in a huge losses of public and private property. People whose properties were looted and gutted into fire, could do a little. On the other side the state police, which had the resposiblity most, remained a mute spectator in w mayhem. It is my strong belief that had the police and administration acted appropriately,situation would not have worsened so gravely.The police's inaction raise fingers at their professional conduct. Further inquiry would establish whether they were helpless or supporting the rioters. Government shoul
    1. C
      Mar 8, 2016 at 2:31 am
      Sorry to hear your story. You are obviously someone who suffered during the riots. It appears that more such incidents will happen, because most state Governments today are there for the sole purpose of controlling the levers of economic power and illegally making money through corrupt deals. Politicians seek votes only to get power and misuse it for their own gains. India is not the same, and never will be the same. Which policeman will want to risk his life when he has paid lakhs of rupees to secure his job? Today it is the police who desert their posts. Tomorrow it will be armymen who will desert the battlefield to lead a life of ease under protection of our enemy. Our politicians will stop at nothing to enrich themselves at the cost of the nation. They will end up selling the nation and leave us all enslaved to new colonial powers. History will repeat itself, only it will be so much worse, and we will fondly remember British rule with profound graude!