From the then additional chief secretary (home) and then director general of police to officers down the line, the Prakash Singh report has faulted several senior officials in the Haryana administration and police for a range of failures during the Jat agitation.
Singh’s indictment comes after a detailed three-tier examination of the officers, a process that is explained in the report. First, the committee asked officers in whose jurisdiction the incidents had taken place to give their side of the story. This was followed by a group discussion with officers of the area where they were asked to explain their role. Finally, the committee held separate meetings with the deputy commissioner and superintendent of police.
Separate sessions were also held with senior officers of the rank of DIG/ IG wherever they were posted. The officers also gave written statements in a set format provided to them.
Singh’s comments on some of the officers in the affected districts:
Chander Shekhar Khare, Deputy Commissioner, Hisar
“One thing which struck the committee about the officer was his unabashed casteist bias. There are officers who have this bias but are able to disguise it. Sh Chander Shekhar wears that on his sleeve… Casteist bias in non-gazetted ranks is reprehensible but such a bias in an all-India service officer should be inexcusable. The government may like to take appropriate action against him of a kind which would have a sobering effect on him.”
Khare was transferred from Hisar earlier this month. When contacted, he sent an SMS saying, “I haven’t seen the report”.
Anita Yadav, Deputy Commissioner, Jhajjar
“…the most non-performing deputy commissioner that the committee met. It was very disappointing that she remained confined to her camp office on February 19-20 even though incidents had started happening in the district and there were roadblocks all over. She not only failed to provide leadership, her role was in fact very negative. Senior officers had difficulty in contacting her on phone and there were instances when she did not appoint magistrates promptly. The police, judiciary and army — all of them had problems in working with her. When asked why she did not go to the major trouble spots, her answer was that she had delegated the authority to her subordinates and that she would go only as a last resort. The committee has no hesitation in recording that she is unfit to hold charge of a district.”
Yadav continues in her post at Jhajjar. When contacted, she said, “I cannot comment without reading the report. I have done my best.”
Shrikant Jadhav, IG, Rohtak Range
Noting that if the situation in Rohtak, the “epicentre” of the violence, had been dealt with effectively, other districts may have come under control far more easily, the report says if Jadhav had “risen to the occasion, the complexion of events would probably have been very different. However, unfortunately, Sh Shrikant Jadhav got obsessed with the feeling that the rioters were out to kill him. Talking to a senior officer in Chandigarh, he is reported to have said, ‘Sir, you have no idea (about) the situation we are facing. Death is staring me in the face.’ The senior officers, Sh A K Singh, IAS, and Sh B S Sandhu, IPS, who were deputed by the state government to go to Rohtak and assist the local administration, found Shrikant Jadhav ‘very unstable and highly emotional’.”
Jadhav, who was suspended and reinstated on May 12, a day before this report was submitted, did not answer calls.
D K Behera, Deputy Commissioner, Rohtak
The report describes Behera “as a well-meaning but an inexperienced and immature officer”, and adds that “Rohtak district threw up a very challenging situation and he was unequal to that.”
Behera, who has been transferred from Rohtak, did not answer calls.
Krishan Murari, SP, Kaithal
Murari’s response to the situations in Kalayat and Pundri has been described as “quite inadequate”. “The rioters indulged in acts of vandalism at Padma Mall in his presence. The SP failed to take any action against them. In fact, as he himself admitted, he placed his peak cap before the rioters, almost begging them to leave. His conduct was disgraceful and unbecoming of a police officer. He failed to enforce curfew orders in a small place like Kaithal despite having sufficient force at his command,” says the report.
Murari, who is no longer posted in Kaithal, did not answer calls.