CHANDIGARH: As the Jat protests spread to more areas, Haryana Police Chief Yashpal Singhal today said it was taking time to bring the situation under control as the stir, which has left one dead and 78 injured, was not being spearheaded by any one particular leader.
He, however, said the situation has "improved" since yesterday and the Army was out in the worst-hit areas to assist the police to help bring the situation under control. Denying that there was an intelligence failure and that the government had failed to judge the situation, the DGP told a press conference here that "The stir has now become leaderless and many youths have also jumped in, which is making our task difficult".
Singhal said, "One has to understand that the forces were dealing with a dynamic situation". "As I said, the agitation has become leaderless. It is a widespread agitation. People are changing plans quickly, which is why it takes time to bring the situation fully under control," he said. He said the government had first engaged some Jat and Khap leaders by having talks with them, but took appropriate steps after the situation changed.
The DGP did not agree with the view that police in Rohtak had failed to react yesterday and it was a "free for all kind of situation". "The situation today is better than what it was yesterday. The Army, paramilitary and police force is conducting flag march in affected areas". "Ten columns of paramilitary forces have reached while 23 more on way and some of these will be airlifted," he said, adding that he had also spoken to the Union Home Secretary and apprised him about the ground situation.
To a question, the DGP said that one person was killed in violence in Rohtak yesterday and 78 others injured. "PGIMS Rohtak Director informed me that one person had been brought dead. In all 78 persons including five policeman were injured in the incident. 46 have been discharged from the hospital while 36 are admitted that includes 5 in the ICU," he said.
The DGP also appealed to the Khaps to suspend their meetings being held in connection with the Jat stir. "Many youths who take part in these meetings are influenced and then they move towards major towns and cities to join other protesters. We would also appeal the village elders to make the youths understand not to join protesters and help us in bringing the situation under control," he said. The DGP said that curfew had been imposed in Rohtak, Bhiwani and Jhajjar districts. Giving details of the violence, he said some persons had pelted stones at the Jhajjar residence of Haryana Minister O P Dhankar, but no one was injured in the incident.
Similar incidents had also taken place as residences of Finance Minister Capt Abhimanyu also came under attack at Rohtak while BJP MP Raj Kumar Saini, who allegedly made anti-Jat quota remarks, was attacked by some persons at Kurukshetra.The DGP said while most of the protesters were from Haryana, he did not rule out the possibility of "outsiders" joining the stir to create law and order problem. "Most of the protesters are from Haryana, but we are not ruling out the possibility of those outside the state joining them," he said, adding their first priority was to bring the situation under control.
The DGP said five persons have been arrested so far in connection with the incidents of violence while 129 had been booked. Asked to comment on fresh incidents of violence including burning down of a railway station in Jind district, violence in Meham and other places, the DGP maintained, "There was improvement in the law and order situation since yesterday..". Asked if the state police had left the job of bringing the situation under control to Army and paramilitary forces, he said, "They are aiding us".
On reports that a mob had entered the campus of MDU varsity at Rohtak, he said, "This needs to be verified". When asked the possibility of misuse of arms and ammunition by miscreants who looted them yesterday from a shop, he said, "According to our information, the looted items mainly contained ammunition.."