The Haryana government, this time, while dealing with the second round of the Jat agitation seems to have taken a lesson from the Prakash Singh Committee report that had strongly criticised the state government for its administrative failure in tackling the riot caused by the Jat agitators in February that claimed 30 lives.
Following the recommendations made by the former Director General of Police Uttar Pradesh, Prakash Singh in his report, the government has ensured a foolproof security cover across Haryana.
To keep the second round of Jat agitation under strict control, 55 companies of Central Paramilitary Forces (CPMF) comprising Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), Border Security Force (BSF) and Rapid Action Force (RAF) have been deployed in the state to check any kind violence.
“A massive security blanket of 55 companies of Central Paramilitary Forces has been created in Haryana to ensure no incidence of violence takes place. Special instructions have been issued to the state government to ensure security and safety of citizens and properties. The Centre is monitoring the situation,” a Ministry of Home Affairs source said.
Singh, in his report, had recommended that local administration and police should sternly deal with the rioters, right use of security and police forces, and enforcement of orders.
“I believe this time the state administration and police have been alert and have beefed up security measures so that February incident doesn’t get repeated. I had recommended the administration to adopt ‘nip at the bud’ approach to prevent the agitators from creating rampage. As the agitators know that the government is firm this time, they are not taking any risk to create disturbances,” Singh, also former Director General, BSF, told Firstpost.
Making scathing remarks against the administration and police, Singh, in his report presented to Haryana government had mentioned, “a deliberate, calculated destruction was caused by rioters in connivance with a section from state administration and police... There were instances of deliberate negligence and cases of deliberately not enforcing law in certain places. The rioters from a particular community (read Jat) went on a rampage under the supervision of a section of officials from that particular community... Police and security forces were found incapable of combating the situation.”
The Jat quota agitators started the second phase of agitation in Haryana on 5 June. The second day, on Monday, has been peaceful, as no untoward incident has yet been reported. Meanwhile, besides Jhajjar, Sonipat, Rohtak, Panipat, Hisar, Jind, Fatehbad and Kaithal districts in Haryana, Section 144 against unlawful gathering has also been imposed in the areas bordering Haryana and Delhi, and a few other areas in South West, North West and South East Delhi. During the first phase of agitation, violence was witnessed in and around Mukherjee Nagar and Najafgarh areas in Delhi.
A dedicated helpline has been provided that will be monitored by a control room in Chandigarh round-the-clock. As an additional security measure and to prevent spreading of any kind of rumours, bulk SMSes and mobile internet have been suspended in Sonipat and Rohtak districts till further notice.
Security arrangements have been beefed up across the Munak Canal, which supplies water to Delhi. The water supply from Munak Canal meets 60 percent of Delhi's total requirement. Seven batallions of CPMF have been deployed to protect the canal and the water supply system from agitators. During the last agitation in February, the Jat agitators caused heavy damage to this canal, which disrupted water supply in Delhi. Due to the closure of plants, the water supply to West, North West, Central, South and parts of North Delhi were severely affected. It was only after the taking over of the control of Munak Canal by 600 CRPF personnel and two columns of Army took over control, normalcy could be restored to water supply in Delhi.
“Our BSF jawans have been deployed on the banks of Munak Canal and they are keeping a strict vigil, so that no damage could be caused. The government has issued orders to strictly deal with agitators, if they try to create any kind disturbance,” a BSF source said.
The Jat agitation that turned into a violent riot in February resulted in the 30 people being killed and over 200 injured, besides Rs 20,000 crore losses in destruction in widespread rampage.
The Jat agitation has become a major impediment for tourists, who pass through Haryana to visit hill stations in North India. Fearing eventualities like in February, many tourists have cancelled plans to travel by road.
“The state government has to ensure that no violence occurs during the agitation period. The agitators can peacefully demonstrate and hold meetings, but can’t go on a rampage like in February. This second phase of agitation will have an adverse impact on the travellers and tourists due to fear and panic. Last time, both politicians and civil administration severely failed to deal with the agitation. It was a shame on bureaucracy and police as they abdicated their responsibility. Hope the government ensures that no repetition takes place this time and highways are not blocked by agitators. And, if administration and police fail this time, the officials and DGP concerned should be removed from command,” said Dhruv C Katoch, former director, Centre for Land Warfare Studies, who was on his way back from Nainital by road.
Due to pressure from state government and increased security measures, the national president of Akhil Bharatiya Jat Aaraskhan Sangharsh Samiti, Yashpal Malik, had recently announced that they would organise “peaceful agitation – Jat Nyay Rally” against the state for not releasing those arrested during the violent stir in February.