Chandigarh : Under pressure from the politically dominant Jat community, the BJP government in Haryana has decided to withdraw criminal cases against 822 people who were booked for violence in the state during the Jat agitation for reservation in February 2016.
The state government has approved the withdrawal of 70 FIRs which had been registered during the large-scale violence during the Jat agitation, a senior officer said on Wednesday.
With this, the Haryana government has so far ordered the withdrawal of 223 cases registered against 2,027 people.
Over 30 people lost their lives, more than 260 were injured and property and assets worth hundreds of crores were damaged during the agitation-related violence that brought the state to a standstill for nearly a fortnight.
The orders to withdraw the cases from the concerned courts were issued on Tuesday, Additional Chief Secretary (Home) S.S. Prasad told media here.
Sources said that the move has been made by the Manohar Lal Khattar government as Jat leaders had threatened to protest against the visit of BJP National President Amit Shah in Haryana on February 15.
All India Jat Aarakshan Sangharsh Samiti (AIJASS) President Yashpal Malik had threatened to disrupt the motorcycle rally of the BJP president in Jind on February 15.
With political speculation rife that the BJP government may go in for early assembly polls in the state along with the Lok Sabha polls, the move to withdraw the cases is being linked to it so that the BJP can appease the Jat community.
“822 people were accused in the 70 FIRs registered in 11 districts. In December, a similar direction was issued for (withdrawal of) 15 cases in which 47 people were accused. Similar instructions were earlier also given in connection with 138 cases, in which 1,158 people were accused,” Prasad said.
“While applications have been put up before courts for which orders were issued earlier, but in connection with 70 FIRs in which 822 people are accused, these orders were issued yesterday (Tuesday),” he said.
He pointed out that no case, pertaining to heinous crimes like murder, was being withdrawn.
Prasad said that the cases have been withdrawn after getting them examined at the district level and getting reports from the concerned police and law officers.
The final decision on actually withdrawing the cases against the agitationists lies with the respective courts, Prasad said.
Most of these cases pertain to rioting, unlawful assembly, wrongful restraint and obstructing a public official from discharging duty.
The AIJASS has demanded that all cases registered during the agitation should be withdrawn.