Public fury sees no reason. Powered by a sheer force of numbers, mob violence usually causes great loss to a state, and in such circumstances, it’s imperative to let the experts take over the matter. As Haryana burned in the past few days, the expertise of the Army was required to contain the violent riots.
Haryana has witnessed total anarchy in the past one week. Large unruly crowds took the state hostage, as protesters demanded reservation in jobs and education for the Jat community. Several districts in Haryana suffered great loss of property and business when unruly protesters in thousands went on a rampage that torched police stations, schools, a ministerial residence, railway stations, and many such public properties. At least 12 people have been killed and about 150 injured since Friday.
Haryana DGP Yash Pal Singal has stated the obvious: the state police failed to control the crowds. The police department has been at the receiving end for failing to tackle the situation well. But to expect an understaffed department to take on a mob of 2,500 people is anything but foolish. The police in India are usually not equipped with riot-gears. In most cases, they have to make do with a mere helmet and a stick.
Rohtak and Jind have been the worst-affected; several state transport buses were set on fire by protesters in Karnal. Not able to contain the arson of the mad mobs, authorities in the state declared curfew and issued ‘shoot-at-sight’ orders on Friday evening. The Army was called in Rohtak, Hisar, Jind, Sonipat, Jhajjar, Bhiwani, Kaithal , Panipat to plug the riots.
Due to the lack of law and order, certain people thought of making the most of it by looting a private arms depot, and ran away with guns.
Although Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar appealed the protesters to maintain peace, his request backfired. The violent mob held some police personnel captive and used them as shields to loot and torch public properties.
Such was the mayhem that mobs dug up roads and put up blockades to prevent security forces from reaching the violence-hit areas. The decision to deploy the army was inevitable; the police had done their best to bring in peace, but the protests had increased. Even though Haryana BJP leader Anil Jain said the state government had now agreed to the community’s demands, sporadic incidents of violence still continues.
Bigger riots need greater restraints. Curfew and ‘shoot-at-sight’ is not a suspension of fundamental rights, as some people argue it to be. The state of affairs in Haryana was so deplorable that it was just a matter of time before the police held up its hands in despair, and the military was brought in to curb the menace.