AFTER his first report indicted a section of Haryana police for deserting their posts and failing to respond to warnings from the Centre, the state government has asked retired IPS officer Prakash Singh, who headed a fact-finding probe during the violent Jat quota agitation in February, to stop working on his second report focusing on “recommending reforms” in the system.
The agitation had led to the deaths of 30 people and loss of public and government property amounting to crores of rupees, forcing the Haryana government to call in the Army to control the law-and-order situation.
“Part two of my report is finished. The government does not want it. The government sent me a formal letter thanking me for the first report and saying that I have done a commendable job. At the end of the letter, it is written that there is no need for the second report and that they will act on the recommendations made in the first,” said Singh, a Padma Shri recipient.
The Prakash Singh panel also included additional chief secretary Vijai Vardhan and K P Singh who became DGP, Haryana, last week. The panel had recorded depositions from 3,000 witnesses while preparing its first report, which also found that more than 90 per cent of shops, houses and business establishments torched by arsonists during the agitation belonged to non-Jats.
As a fallout of the first report, the then additional chief secretary (Home) P K Das and then DGP Yashpal Singal lost their postings, other officials were transferred and a few more were placed under suspension.
Singh said he had already begun working on the second report and held a preliminary meeting with police officers in June.
“I had met the Chief Minister in June. When I spoke to him about the second report, he said that I should wait for a few days. Since I was already in Chandigarh, I told him I would hold a preliminary meeting with the officers, which I did. I asked for feedback from them on various issues. However, before I could return, I received a letter from the Home Department saying there was no need for the second report,” said Singh.
When contacted, additional chief secretary, Home, Ram Niwas, refused comment.
Singh, meanwhile, said that while no reasons were given to him by the government for stopping work on the second report, he suspects that “it could be because the bureaucracy does not want to lose its stranglehold over police”.
“One can see that the bureaucracy is cheesed. They think that if this man comes again, he will make recommendations, which will be difficult to swallow and loosen their grip over police. The recommendations would have included a suggestion to give operational autonomy to police,” Singh claimed.