The much-talked about Prakash Singh Committee report, probing the acts of omission and commission on the part of the civil/police officers during the Jat violence, has blamed the state’s former Chief Ministers for the rot that has set in the bureaucracy and the police.
“It appears that, over the years, the former Chief Ministers with a view to concentrating powers in their own office, eroded the authority of certain institutions,” said the former Uttar Pradesh DGP’s report made public by the Manohar Lal Khattar government this week. It has observed in its 451-page report spread over two volumes that “The office of the Chief Secretary in the state does not command the power or enjoy the prestige it does in most of the states. The Home Department also plays a somewhat subsidiary role in matters relating to law and order. These distortions need to be corrected if we do not wish to see a similar administrative paralysis in the event of a major challenge to the law and order situation in future.”
The Jat agitation in February saw 30 persons killed and property destroyed. The committee indicted 90 officers on the police and civil side. It observed that the civil administration and the police machinery cut a very sorry figure during the agitation. However, it stressed that such a crisis didn’t happen because the officers proved suddenly incompetent. “It happens as a climax to years and decades of politicisation and the resultant erosion in the authority of established institutions,” it said. “The bureaucracy in the state had lost its elan. The police had forgotten that it is the strong arm of the state and that is expected to use appropriate force when the authority of the state is challenged.”
The report pointed out that officers had started looking up to the political masters for directions. The committee was stunned to note that police officers were opposed to the use of force during the stir.
“There was a general impression that if they used force, firstly, it may prove counter-productive in the sense that the situation may become worse and, secondly, their action may not be defended by the state government,” the committee felt.