TAKING NOTE of the situation where even key eyewitnesses, including many government employees, were turning hostile in the Jat reservation violence that rocked Haryana from February 12 to 23, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has asked the Haryana government why it has failed to protect them.
Justice AB Chaudhuri on Tuesday asked an officer of a state prosecution agency to file an affidavit on why after registering so many cases against the accused, the witnesses were not getting protection. The court made it clear that if the state failed to give proper explanation at the next hearing, it would be compelled to summon the DGP.
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While hearing a number of bail petitions by the accused on Tuesday, the court came to know that because of the key witnesses turning hostile, many of the accused were being acquitted. On being questioned by the court, the state government’s counsel replied that there were around 2,000 prosecution cases related to the February violence. The court expressed anguish over the manner in which prosecution was being conducted by the state agencies and witnesses turning hostile.
In one of the cases wherein during the reservation violence, Bamla railway station in Bhiwani was vandalised and set ablaze, the court was informed that three government employees, Umed Singh (Station Master), Krishan Kumar and Satbir Singh (Pointsmen), who were eyewitnesses, have now turned hostile. Counsel appearing for one of the accused, Joginder Singh, contended that the other two witnesses, also government employees at Bamla RS, had turned hostile, too, which led to the acquittal of the accused by the trial court on Tuesday.
Northern Railway has filed a claim for compensation amounting to Rs 360 crore for losses it incurred during the violent Jat quota agitation in February and March this year. The claim was filed in October with the Haryana government-constituted Claims Tribunal headed by retired Justice Karam Chand Puri. The tribunal is mandated to estimate damage to public and private properties across Haryana.