Hooda aide, Khap leader booked for sedition in Haryana

Chandigarh, Feb 24 (IANS) Police on Wednesday registered a case of sedition and criminal conspiracy against Virender Singh, a close aide of former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, on charges of inciting violence during the Jat agitation, officials said.

A Khap leader, Man Singh Dalal, who represents the Dalal Khap in Haryana, was also named in the FIR (first information report) registered at the Civil Lines police station in Rohtak town, 75 km from Delhi.

Both have been booked for sedition, trying to incite violence and criminal conspiracy.

An audio tape of a telephone conversation, allegedly between Virender Singh and Dalal, surfaced recently in which Virender Singh is purportedly telling Dalal to activate youths in Sirsa district to take part in the Jat reservation agitation.

Virender Singh was the political advisor to Hooda for nearly 10 years (2005-14) when the latter was Haryana’s chief minister. He is considered very close to Hooda.

The Congress, after the audio clip surfaced, issued a notice to Virender Singh seeking his explanation. The notice was issued by Haryana Congress president Ashok Tanwar.

Virender Singh has claimed the tape was “doctored” and demanded that the whole conversation be brought out in the public. It is not known who had ordered and taped the conversation illegally.

Nineteen people were killed and nearly 200 injured in the Jat agitation claiming job quotas. Property worth crores of rupees was destroyed. The violence affected 10 of Haryana’s 21 districts.

The Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) said on Wednesday that the BJP government in the state and Congress leaders were responsible for the violence.

Haryana Agriculture Minister O.P. Dhankar blamed Hooda for the violence during the agitation.

“People of the state will hardly forgive such people. There is a deep conspiracy behind this movement,” Dhankar said.

Hooda, who was shooed away from Rohtak town by locals and traders and even shoes were hurled at him on Tuesday, has not said anything on the audio clip of his close aide.

“I had come to Rohtak to share their pain and grief and the anger shown by the people was natural. It is not wrong to show anger and to express their feelings. I accept the anger of the residents with humility,” Hooda said in a statement.

Rohtak bore the brunt of the Jat violence with hundreds of shops and other establishments, government and private buildings and educational institutions and private hospitals set on fire. Shops were looted.

Haryana Food and Supplies Minister Karan Dev Kamboj said the properties of those who indulged in unlawful acts such as arson and vandalism should be attached to compensate for the damage caused to public and private properties.

“Persons responsible for the heavy losses that have been incurred in the state should be identified and strict action be taken against them,” he said.

Describing the recent agitation as a “sponsored movement”, the minister said: “By giving their full support and assistance to it, the opposition parties, including the Congress, created problems for the people. The government is identifying those who had created strife among the people and would not spare them.”

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