Chandigarh, March 22 (IANS) Defending his government’s handling of the Jat quota stir, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Tuesday said a judicial inquiry would be conducted to “unearth the entire conspiracy” behind the violence and arson in the state.
“A judicial inquiry will be got conducted to unearth the conspiracy behind a series of sad and unfortunate incidents which continued for 80 hours in February,” Khattar said in the assembly here.
He was replying to an adjournment motion brought by leader of the opposition and Indian National Lok Dal leader Abhay Singh Chautala in the ongoing budget session.
An inquiry committee headed by former Uttar Pradesh director general of police Prakash Singh was earlier set up by the state’s BJP government to inquire into acts of omission and commission on the part of civil and police officers during the agitation.
“Prima facie, some facts have come to our notice which point towards the involvement of and planning by some leaders and workers of the Congress and (Indian National) Lok Dal. An inquiry is going on in this regard and the issue will become clearer after its completion,” Khattar said.
On March 10, Khattar had told reporters here that his government could opt for a judicial commission of inquiry to probe violence and arson during the Jat quota stir.
Defending his government against “inaction” charge, Khattar said stern action had been initiated against erring officials.
“While a police personnel has been dismissed under Article 311(2)(b) of the constitution, the state government has placed under suspension one inspector general of police and two deputy superintendents of police and initiated further action against them. Action has also been initiated against some more police officials,” the chief minister claimed.
“To say that the incidents occurred due to wilful negligence on part of the Haryana government is completely untrue and baseless. The allegations about the government response in assessing the loss of innocent lives and property or provide immediate assistance to them are completely irresponsible and false,” a defensive chief minister said.
Khattar told the assembly the details of what all transpired between the government and the Jat and khap leaders in February.
“Despite the government agreeing to the reservation demand, people belonging to some political parties continued to abet the agitators due to which on February 18, the agitators staged a dharna at nine places on railway tracks in the state and at 247 places on the national and state highways. The delegates who attended the February 17 meeting (in Chandigarh) told us that the agitation had been hijacked by elements who were not listening to them,” Khattar said.
He said paramilitary forces and the army were called in as the agitation turned violent.
“In order to control the violent mobs, security forces resorted to calibrated use of force at many places. During the whole series of events, 30 persons died, 320 people sustained injuries, including 72 personnel of police and other security forces. Due to prompt and sustained efforts, the situation was completely controlled by February 22,” he said.
Khattar said 444 people were arrested and 2,087 criminal cases registered in connection with the violence.
Speaking during the debate, Finance Minister Abhimanyu said he was ready for a narco-analysis (polygraph test) in the wake of questions regarding his role in the Jat agitation.
He said a similar test should also be conducted on former Congress chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and Independent MLA Jai Parkash to know who was instigating the violence.
The minister blamed the Congress leadership for instigating violence.