Haryana Government Withdraws 70 Riot Cases After Jats Threatened To Disrupt Amit Shah’s Rally
Coming under pressure from the politically dominant Jat community, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led government in Haryana has withdrawn 70 FIRs filed against 882 people during the Jat quota agitation violence in February 2016.
The move is seen as an appeasement as the withdrawal of the cases was done on February 6, a day after lakhs of Jats under the leadership of All India Jat Arakshan Sangharsh Samiti (AIJASS) president Yashpal Malik threatened to disrupt BJP president Amit Shah’s planned rally in Jind on February 15.
70 FIRs were registered against 822 people during the 2016 Jat protests for reservations, have now been recommended for withdrawal Additional Chief Secretary (Home) SS Prasad said on Friday. “Till date, we have withdrawn 208 such cases where the charges were not that grave. These cases were only for minor offences. We are in the process of examining all such cases and shall be taking appropriate action,” he further quoted.
According to the officials, the Haryana government has so far withdrawn 208 such FIRs against 1,980 people accused of various offences. And termed these 70 FIRs as “minor offences” of which the accused were charged with the felling of trees, blocking highways and rail traffic.
Haryana Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment, Krishan Kumar Bedi defended the withdrawal of cases: “It is not as if the BJP government alone has withdrawn criminal cases registered for minor offences. In fact, such cases were also withdrawn by the previous state governments of (Bhupinder Singh) Hooda and (Om Prakash) Chautala.”
He further added “We have already made our stand clear that the government shall not withdraw a single case registered for a heinous crime. There are about 90 such FIRs, some pending investigation and others at various stages of the trial.”
30 people died in the protests during the February 2016 violence. Last year the government constituted a committee headed by Bedi to examine the aspect of compensation for those who lost their lives or sustained serious injuries. “We have already given employment to 30 people from the families of victims as per their qualifications. Compensation has also been given to families of all those who lost their lives and those who sustained injuries”, Bedi said.
No rest till goal is achieved
Yashpal Malik president of the All India Jat Aarakshan Sangharsh Samiti, the organisation that has been guiding the Jat agitation in Haryana, is still not impressed by Haryana government’s move to withdraw criminal cases.
Dismissing the withdrawals, Malik said: “Successive governments have been fooling us with such petty tactics. Our agitation stands as per schedule. We shall not rest till our goal of reservation in government jobs and educational institutions is achieved. All the cases, heinous or non-heinous in nature, should be withdrawn by the government. Unless that is done, the ongoing exercise of withdrawing criminal cases for minor offences does not mean anything to us.”
Malik called the BJP ‘Betrayal Jumla Party’ and vowed that the road leading to the ground where Amit Shah’s proposed rally is to take place in Jind would be blocked by lakhs of Jats in trolleys and tractors.
Congress joins protest
Adding more to BJP’s troubles, Haryana Congress has also announced to take part in the protest on February 15. President of Haryana Pradesh Congress Committee, Ashok Tanwar said to the National Herald that Congress will welcome Amit Shah with black flags. “People of Haryana and this country should know what BJP did with the Jat community. No action has been taken against policemen who killed Jats. No political leader has been held responsible for the rioting and disruption. Instead, innocent people were slapped with serious charges and were put behind bars for two years. Who is responsible for that?” questioned Tanwar.
Tanwar accused the Khattar government of creating a diversion by the withdrawal of the case and said, “BJP wants to confuse the people of Haryana, who are up in arms against its national president. State leadership of the BJP is in panic. They will not be able to show their face to Shah if his rally gets disrupted. That is why they have announced conciliatory measures so that Amit Shah can address the rally peacefully.”
Another obstacle for BJP and Amit Shah have come in the form of a National Green Tribunal notice to the Centre and Haryana government, over a petition seeking a reduction in the number of motorbikes at Amit Shah’s rally. According to the reports around one lakh, motorcyclists are scheduled to meet Amit Shah at the rally.
For security assistance ahead of Amit Shah’s visit, 150 companies of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) has been requested by the Haryana government in a letter to the central government.