The Haryana government had prior intelligence input that the Jat protesters were planning to carry out mass scale destruction before the protests eventually turned violent on 19 February.
According to officials in the intelligence agencies, the mass scale destruction carried out by the mob, which destroyed public properties including a milk plant of the Haryana Dairy Corporation in Rohtak, the Munak canal leading to water scarcity in Delhi, a PSU bank branch in Jhajjar, several state roadways buses, seven railway stations, a police station and several buildings leading to a clampdown in parts on Sonipat, Bhiwani and Jhajjar, was systematically planned to cause maximum damage in limited time and bring the state and the Central governments on their knees.
“We were keeping a watch on the protestors and had sent reports that they are planning to carry out large scale violence with the aim of targeting assets that will disrupt the functioning of the state. Despite shutting down the mobile networks in areas where the violence erupted over a period of 5 days, the rampaging groups systematically destroyed assets despite not being in contact with each other as the places to target had already been thought of and discussed before the mobile networks were blocked,” an official with the intelligence bureau said.
As per ASSOCHAM, the state suffered a loss of around Rs 20,000 crore on account of burning and destroying of public and private property due to the Jat reservation stir. Moreover, collateral damage worth crores of rupees has been done to businesses and industries in Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, and the other states which share their border, roads and railway lines with Haryana. As per Indian Railways, the movement of 800 trains was affected for more than four days due to the stir. Maruti Suzuki India too was forced to suspend its operations at its two plants in Gurgaon and Manesar due to the agitation
“The fact that Munak canal will be among the first to be targeted was conveyed to the concerned state government department but no force was sent to secure it. When the Central forces were eventually brought on the ground, they were asked to exercise maximum restraint due to which the morale of the protestors increased. Even the paramilitary and the Army were asked to not use deadly force. The authorities miserably failed to avert a situation which could have been easily averted had adequate steps been taken in time,” the official said.
The officials have also questioned the police and the state intelligence bureau, which for all practical purpose, was caught sleeping. “It is the responsibility of the local intelligence unit to generate inputs on a protest like this, which was being deliberated upon openly. However, it seems that the local police intelligence failed to grasp the enormity of the stir. Many of the officials in the intelligence gathering units in Haryana are from a particular community and some have suggested that is one reason for this,” the official said.
According to officials, around 25 bureaucrats, including IPS officials, have been identified by the government, who failed in their duty during the violence and the state government has already initiated process to take action against them.
“If the police had taken strict action within the first few hours of the beginning of the violence, it would not have spread to other parts. However, the police appeared to be powerless. Even the Army was asked to remain mute spectator to the arson because the state government was scared that the Army action would enrage the agitators even more. Despite the Army seeking permission to act, the state government denied the permission due to which the violence went on for five days,” the official said.