Jats in the Haryana police force deserted their posts and ignored orders during three days of violence and arson in the state in February, siding with members of their community agitating for reservations.
This was discovered by the investigative panel led by IPS officer Prakash Singh which has examined more than 3,000 witnesses since the panel was set up on 26 February.
The panel found that 60-70 policemen deserted their posts in every district from 19 February as Jat mobs went on an arson spree, burning shops, house, police stations and police posts in Rohtak, Jhajjar, Sonipat and Gohana. This was why the state had immediately called in the Army and paramilitary forces, said a source.
In its report, the panel will list the names of the deserters complete with their ranks, belt numbers, places of postings and number of days they were absent from their posts, and recommend strict action against these men, who have remained unpunished to date, says The Indian Express. The action will probably mean dismissal.
According to the source, several deputy superintendents of police told the panel that the constabulary refused to obey their orders and openly showed solidarity with their community members. Victims of the violence also testified that policemen and officials from the Jat community did nothing while mobs attacked their shops, cars and homes.
According to several superintendents of police, in some cases, Jat police personnel stayed away from their posts for almost a week, returning as casually as they would return from leave.
A senior Haryana Police officer said, "Even people in police are a reflection of society. There were people who showed immense bravery and there were a few who showed cowardice as well. Reports from various quarters were received about police personnel abandoning their posts and not performing their official duty, especially in Rohtak and Jhajjar. Action has already been taken in some of the cases, even dismissals in a couple of cases. Rest, the government will take adequate measures once the Prakash Singh panel's report is finalised, because that was the purpose of this fact-finding committee, to find out all such instances of cowardice so that further action can be taken. As such a judicial probe has also been ordered in the case."
A senior government official added: "Unprecedented action shall be taken on the basis of the probe panel's report. We are waiting for it and when it comes to us, all such persons who failed to perform their duties shall be taken to task."
The report will also show that Haryana's then DGP YP Singhal did not visit any of the riot-stricken areas, except Rohtak after the agitation with Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar.