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Kusum Lata Mittal Report


C H A P T E R - 4

SHRI H.C. JATAV ADDITIONALCOMMISSIONER OF POLICE, RANGE (DELHI)

4.1. The role of the police in Central, North and East Districts during the November 1984 riots has been discussed at some length in the foregoing Chapters. These Districts were under the supervisory charge of Shri Hukam Chand Jatav, Additional Commissioner of Police. It was his responsibility to maintain law and order in these three Districts and provide proper guidance to the DCPs and the other field staff posted in these Districts. Shri Jatav remained as Additional Commissioner of Police Range (Delhi) till 15th July 1985. Thereafter he was transferred out.

4.2. According to the written reports and his statement before the Misra Commission, Shri jatav had been on the move in his area throughout from 31st October to 5th November 1984. However, the role of Shri jatav during the riots appears to be somewhat dubious and his conduct questionable. This would be clear from a few glaring instances which have been mentioned while discussing the role of the police in various Districts and Police Stations. These are recapitulate for ready reference.

4.3. One of his first administrative acts was the change of a number of police officers belonging to the Sikh Community on 31.10.84. If the written submissions by the Delhi Administration before the Misra Commission are to be believed, ACP Subzi Mandi Shri Kewal Singh and Inspector Gurmail Singh, SHO Subzi Mandi (North District), were removed from their charge under orders from Shri Jatav although they were carried out by the DCP (North) in the night intervening 31st October and 1st November, 1984. Shri jatav in his statement before the Misra Commission informs the Commission that ACP and SHO, Subzi Mandi were guilty of abandoning their position of duty during the riots. While examining the police records of Subzi Mandi PS we find that both these officers were actually taking effective action to control the situation, had registered an FIR No. 633 at 8.10 PM and had rounded up90 rioters in the main bazaar of Subzi Mandi at 8.00 PM. On 31st October 1984 who were subsequently not bailed out but sent to jail. In fact, this was one of the few Police Stations where effective action was initiated in the evening on 31st October 1984. They were also seeking clear orders of their superior to ‘Shoot-at-sight’ to control the situation as would be evident from a wireless message at 8.32 PM. From Shora Kothi. Instead of giving clear orders, these Sikh officers were removed from the scene. It almost seems that they were removed as a punishment for making large scale arrests of miscreant rather than for abandoning their posts or for inefficiency and incompetence. The statement of Shri jatav before the Misra Commission, therefore, appears to be contrary to the real facts and a shabby attempt to justify the administrative failure in this Police Station, which came in for public criticism subsequently.

4.4. SHO, Sarai Rohilla (North District) was also transferred besides some other Sikh officers in the East District. Wherever these transfers were affected, the situation worsened and went out of control, as has been discussed earlier while dealing with the Police Stations concerned. Shri jatav’s decision to change these officers at such a crucial juncture was administratively unwise and unsound, to say the least.

4.5. His subsequent conduct also indicates that he was inclined to take lenient view against miscreants. His first notable presence on 31.10.84 was in Subzi Mandi (North District) at about 11.20 PM. Where the local people had apprehended 5 or 6 miscreants along with looted property. Shri Jatav not only let off the miscreants, an act that surprised all those who had caught these miscreants but he also failed to take any precautionary measures at the request of the public. This would be evident from the affidavits of Shri Kartar Singh Bawa, an old Congress Worker (173), and Shri Jasbir Singh (174) and some other deponents. This lenient approach and the transfer of officers subsequently led to the situation fast deteriorating in the areas under P.S. Subzi Mandi (North District) and large-scale arson and looting took place on 1st and 2nd November 1984.

4.6. Shri Jatav mentions that on 1.11.84 at 10.05 AM and 10.53 AM he used tear gas to disperse crowds at Pahar Ganj and Sadar Thana Road. This also seems to be incorrect because according to the figures compiled by Police Headquarters (PHQ folder No. XXV/1/85 Volume No.XXX) no tear gas was used in Pahar Ganj and Sadar Thana Road during the entire period of the riots. Thus Shri Jatav seems to have dealt with some imaginary situations and taken action

4.7. Shri jatav claims credit for handling the situation near Sis Ganj Gurudwara in the morning of 1st November 1984. This incident had already been firmly dealt with by Shri Maxwell Pereira, Addl. DCP (North). In fact the incident was over by 10.37 AM. At that time Shri Jatav, according to his d.o. Letter No. 2797/P Sec® dated 11th/13th November, 1984 to Shri S.S. Jog, Police Commissioner, was in the area of Paharganj and Sadar Thana Road. Shri Jatav had been requested by Shri Pereira, Addl. DCP (North) to come to Sisganj Gurudwara in Chandni Chowk as police had resorted to firing and one person had been killed. Shri jatav shows his visit to Chandni Chowk at 11.40 hrs but this is not confirmed because at 11.40 hrs according to records and wireless message he was in East District where he had asked DCP (East) to meet him at Wazirpur Road. He apparently tried to black out his visit to the East District on the morning of 1st November 1984 to avoid showing any knowledge of events occurring in Kalyanpuri Police Station and other parts of East District. However, he could have visited Chandni Chowk at about 1230 hours after his visit to East District when he sent a message to the Police Commissioner that situation in Chandni Chowk is normal as would appear from the entry at 12.38 hrs. in the log of PCR(A) Net. In his own log book, however, there is no entry from 12.00 to 12.25 hrs and 12.25 to 12.40 hrs. This time of 1230 hrs is also confirmed from the report of Commissioner of Police who met him there round about 1300 hrs on his way to Raj Niwas for a meeting with Lt. Governor.

4.8. A very serious incident occurred in Police Station Sarai Rohilla (North District) where a Gurudwara was attacked in the afternoon of 1st November 1984. While discussing this incident earlier, it was evident that Shri jatav accompanied by Shri S.K.Singh, DCP (North) went to this spot and both were present when the Railway Protection Force jawans resorted to unprovoked and unwarranted firing upon the Sikhs who had been told to go inside the Gurudwara by the police. Both these senior officers failed to prevent the RPF jawans from firing and also failed to take action on the spot against the mob or the RPF jawans. They neither got any case registered nor took up the matter with the RPF authorities. In order to show his absence at the time of firing, Shri Jatav has shown his visit to Sarai Rohilla at 5.00 PM which is not borne out by facts. He appears to be very much present at the time of the firing which was between 1500 hrs to 15.25 hrs, but in his movement chart he has indicated a different time, i.e. 5.00 PM. So that he should not be held accountable for the failure of the police to take action which resulted in looting and loss of life and property. He subsequently also seems to have persuaded Shri Singh, DCP to fall in line and change his (DCP’s) first version of the incident.

4.9. Some of the most serious incidents during the riots took place in East District particularly in Trilokpuri area of P.S. Kalyanpuri. Mass killings started in the morning of 1st November 1984 but Shri Jatav pleads total ignorance regarding these incidents till 7.00 PM. Of 2nd November 1984. This is not acceptable for the following reasons: -

i) East District Control Room received a serious rioting in Blocks 32 and 36 Trilokpuri leading to heavy loss of life and property.’
It is thus clear that the DCP (East) at least had knowledge of the killings and it is inconceivable that he would not apprise his immediate senior officer, namely Shri Jatav about the incidents in East District.

ii) According to the details of the movement given in his d.o. of 11th/13th November, 1984 addressed to the Commissioner of Police, Shri jatav has tried to show that he did not visit East District on 1st November, 1984. This appears to be misleading as from a wireless message it is evident that he had asked DCP (East) to meet him at Wazirabad Road at 11.40 AM on 1.11.84. Even if we take his own version he had visited East District on 2nd November 1984 at 10.00 AM. When he is stated to have gone to P.S. Gandhi Nagar, Shakarpur, Krishna Nagar and Shahadara. It is hard to believe that he was still unable to get an inkling of the mass killings going on in that District.

iii) Later in the day, Shri Rahul Kuldip Bedi (2824) and Shri Joseph maliakan (2699)- made all out efforts to make authorities understand the gravity of the situation. They reached the police Commissioner’s office at 5.00 PM. On 2.11.1984 and informs Shri Nikhil Kumar and others regarding the mass killings in Trilokpuri. The officers they met were not prepared to believe them but were good enough to pass on a massage at about5.30 PM. To all concerned including Shri Jatav about the killings.

iv) Shri Jatav pleads ignorance about this wireless message of PCR and in his note No. 2792-93/P.Sec® dated 10.11.84, marked to DCP (PCR) and DCP (HQ I) he goes to the extent of putting the blame upon the PCR for interpolations and tampering with the logbook. Not only this, Shri Jatav also finds fault with Shri Nikhil Kumar, Addl. C.P. as to why he was not informed regarding the incidents in Trilokpuri when he was available in the PHQ at about 5.00 PM on 2.11.1984. On the other hand, in his movement chart he shows that he had gone to East District at 4.30 PM. The note of Shri Nikhil Kumar indicates a very different story. (Note dated 10.11.84 to the then Police Commissioner, Shri S.C. Tandon) The wireless operator of PCR also reported that Addl. C.P. acknowledged the message at 17.39 hrs.

v) Even if we accept Shri Jatav’s version, according to his own movement chart he was away from the PHQ from 4.30 PM to 7.00PM and had gone to the East District in connection with Prime Minister’s proposed visit. When he returned to PHQ at 7.00 PM, he declared before the press reporters that complete peace prevailed in the entire East District. He particularly mentioned that Trilokpuri had been calm, meaning thereby that the Press reporters were liars, whereas in fact the boot was on the other leg.

4.10. The only conclusions that one can draw from all this are that Shri Jatav was deliberately trying to minimize what had actually happened. However, faced with the fact that incidents in Police Station Kalyanpuri and specially Trilokpuri had been exposed, he then went and suspended Shri Shoorvir Singh Tyagi, SHO, and got a case registered against him. The will to take any real action was perhaps still lacking because no effort was made to follow up this case seriously. Sanction for prosecution was not obtained in time and this resulted in a case against this SHO being thrown out by the trial court on technical grounds. Besides, the case was registered only on petty charges and not for the more serious offences involved.

4.11. Even before the Misra Commission on 24.4.86, Shri Jatav has stated that the killings in P.S. Kalyanpuri took place between 8.00 to 10.00 PM on 1.11.84. This again is contrary to facts and the statements of deponents, because most of the killings had taken place in the morning of 1.11.84 as is crystal clear from wireless message of SHO Kalyanpuri to DCP (East) at 15.10 hrs on 1.11.84. Thus, Shri Jatav not only made incorrect statements in his various letters and reports but also before the Misra Commission. This is a sad commentary on the conduct of an officer of his experience and seniority.

4.12. The events at Police Station Karol Bagh on5.11.84 further give an insight into the functioning the mind of Shri Jatav. This Police Station was virtually stormed by political leaders including the local Member of Parliament Shri Dharam Dass Shastri. These political leaders publicly and openly humiliated the DCP and even went to the extent of manhandling the SHO; Shri Jatav was present and was siding with the political leaders instead of supporting his staff who had acted in accordance with law. This incident has been discussed at some length while dealing with the incidents in this Police Station. It would be soon that Shri Jatav found it difficult to support the correct actions of his subordinates because he did not want to take any action against the criminals indulging in arson and loot. This is confirmed by the fact that on 4.11.84 at 07.37 hrs, he sent a collective message which reads as follows: -

“ All SHOs should announce in their respective areas that those having looted property should deposit it at the Police Stations failing which legal action will be taken on recovery.”

This order was not only improper but also absolutely illegal. There is no provision under the law for asking for criminals to return the looted property and giving them immunity from punishment. This only shows that he was helping the criminals rather than enforcing the law, which was his prime duty. This also explains why he was unable to enforce law and order in his Range and why he did not support officer’s who were trying to do their duty effectively and in accordance with law.

4.13. Besides the above illegal orders, Shri Jatav justified the clubbing together of incidents in North (Districts) vide his letter No. 3179/P.Sec® dated 15.12.1984 to Shri Marwah, Addl. Commissioner of Police (CID). This obviously made prosecution of the accused persons difficult. His statement that complaints were not being lodged was also incorrect because deponents have said that the Police refused to lodge their complaints at the Police Stations.

4.14. There are a number of other discrepancies in the movement chart submitted by Shri Jatav vide his d.o. Letter No. 2797 dated 11.11.84. For instance, at 3.00 P.M. on 1.11.84 Shri Jatav had shown that he reached PP Shanti Nagar in P.S. Lawrence Road and opened fire to disperse a mob. According to the records of the Police Station, no such incident seems to have taken place in PP Shanti Nagar at that particular time. In case, Shri Jatav is talking of the incident of gherao of Shanti Nagar Police Post, the same had occurred at about 12.45 hrs on 1.11.84. Thus, it is not understood as to where Shri Jatav had opened fire to disperse which mob. Then Shri Jatav states that he used tear smoke in Paharganj at 1005 AM on 1.11.84 to disperse the mob, which had collected to set a truck on fire. Further, Shri Jatav dispersed a mob which had collected on Sadar Thana Road by use of tear-gas and lathi charge at 1053 hrs. Both these statements of Shri Jatav are belied by the police records as well as figures compiled by Shri Marwah during the course of inquiry as no tear-gas was used either in Paharganj or on Sadar Thana Road (which also falls under the jurisdiction of Paharganj) throughout the period of riots. Further Shri Jatav has mentioned in his above d.o. Letter that a crowd in Chandni Chowk was dispersed at 11.40 AM on 1st November 1984. The firing was ordered by Shri Maxwell Periera, Additional D.C.P. (North District) around 10.30 AM on 1st November 1984. Therefore, the statement of Shri Jatav that he dispersed the mob by opening fire in Chandni Chowk is totally wrong. Later, on 2nd November 1984 Shri Jatav has shown his visit to East District show that he had gone there only after 12.00 hrs.

4.15. Shri Jatav also does not hesitate in telling lies before the Misra Commission even on inconsequential matters when he states in his signed statement that ‘from 31.10.84 till 5.11.84 I had no time even to go to my residence’. This is also untrue as his position is shown as at his residence on a number of occasions during this period. It is quite clear that the movement chart submitted by Shri Jatav in his d.o. Letter No. 2797 dated 11.11.84 is apparently too distorted to be relied upon and appears to have been maneuvered to suit his own ends.

4.16. In his statement before the Misra Commission, Shri Jatav has stated that ‘till the evening of 1.11.1984 I had no occasion to feel that the situation was going out of control and that he had information of about 12 incidents of arson and looting in different areas within his range”. This statement is ridiculous because the log books of the three Districts under his charge show that incidents of arson, loot and murder started on 31.10.84 evening and by the afternoon of 1.11.1984 hundreds of people had been killed besides a large number of Gurudwaras and shops also burnt and looted. This under-statement ----------------------------------- blatant lies but that he was under-playing the gravity of the situation as he lacked the will to act

4.17. The general attitude of his mind is apparent from Shri Madan Lal Khurana’s (a councilor of Delhi Metropolitan Council) letter No. 7627/15/85 dated 11.3.85 written to Shri V.P. Marwah, the then Addl. Commissioner of Police (CID). Shri Khurana stated that he tried to explain the gravity of the situation to Shri Jatav. Shri Jatav’s in different reaction was that only looting was taking place and no one was being murdered. When Shri Khurana explained that people were even being murdered, the reply he received was that when such an incident takes place in the country some people have their sentiments and what can the police do about it. This attitude clearly indicates the way Shri Jatav’s mind was working and why some police officers under his charge were hesitant to act.

4.18. By his attitude Addl. C.P.® forfeited the credibility of the law enforcement agency among the riot victims. This would be apparent from the fact that the wailing women and children from Trilokpuri went all the way to Daryaganj and requested the Lt. Col of the Army to help them rather than go to the Police Headquarters, which was closer. The victims rightly felt that perhaps the army would help them but not the Delhi Police. The attitude of indifference and callous behaviour of the Delhi Police is also borne from the affidavits of Shri Smitu Kothari (2268) and Shri Avtar Singh Vir (2357), Lalita Ramdas (2647/2693), Press Reporters and many others as indicated while discussing incidents in the various Police Stations.

4.19. The level to which Shri Jatav was prepared to stoop, is also evident from the fact that subsequently Shri jatav himself has tried to take the credit for the work done by some officers who took initiative and tried to control the situations in their respective areasold/ He has mentioned some events in the first person in his letter No. 2797/P Sec ® dated 11/13.11.1984 to show that it was he who tried to control the situation through his personal efforts. And he gave exaggerated figures of person’s killed/injured in Police action. In fact, there is a difference between what he has stated before Justice Misra Commission on 24th April 1986 and his d.o. Letter dated the 11th November 1984 to which he refers in his statement. In his oral evidence he has stated that in his range 13 persons were killed, 40 injured and 1083 arrested. However, in his letter of 11th November 1984 he has stated that 17 persons were killed, 20 were injured and 2045 arrested. He also claims personal credit for firing 127 rounds when he and his staff were moving in his range in which 5 persons were stated to have been killed and 14 injured. A scrutiny of the records of various Police Stations of his range do not corroborate any of these versions. This has been further discussed in Chapter XI. Facts, on the other hand, indicate that wherever he was going the events that followed were far from complementary to him and more incidents of arson and looting had occurred in those places. The loss of life and property in three Districts under his charge would come to over 1700 persons killed and about a hundred Gurudwaras

4.20. On an overall assessment of his work and conduct, it is more than obvious that he is accountable for the total breakdown of law and order in many areas under his charge. He did not provide necessary leadership to his subordinates. On the other hand, he allowed those who did good work to be humiliated. He totally failed to discharge his duty and because of his conduct, public lost faith in Delhi Delhi. It will now take a long time and involve a lot of hard work to restore public faith in the law enforcement machinery.

4.21. The original logbook of Shri Jatav was made available to the Committee after considerable delay and reluctance on the part of the Police Commissioner’s office. A perusal of this logbook shows the reason of this reluctance since it appears to have been manipulated. The reasons for drawing this conclusion are as under: -

i) A large number of PCR ‘A’ Net messages do not find place in the logbook besides messages from the Districts. A few of these messages of PCR ‘A’ Net, particularly relating to East District, acknowledged by Shri Jatav and which should have normally found place in the log book are given below: -

TIME/DATE FROM TO TEXT OF MESSAGE
1738
2.11.84
PCR(101) G-3 Arson in House No. C-8/34, Yamuna Vihar
1739
2.11.84
PCR(101) G-3 Killings going on in 32 Trilokpuri
2058
2.11.84
PCR G-3 Three Sardars injured in Block No3. They have been admitted In JPN Hospital.
Roger out.
2106 PCR G-3

A gathering of Sikhs from North Shahdara heading for Bhajanpura, Apprehension of danger.
Roger out

0148
3.11.84
PCR G-3

Incidents of arson in New Rohtas Nagar Shahdara, firing from Gurudwara side. Roger out.

1200
3.11.84
PCR G-3

From CP Delhi – Please ensure that others. All dead bodies are collected and Removed to the nearest Hospital/ Mortuary under proper receipt and Acknowledgement. All SHOs mayBe informed.
Roger out.

1215 PCR G-3

Looting in Blocks 13 and19, Trilokpuri should be stopped. If Necessary, firing should be done - From Shri Nikhil Kumar.
Roger out.

ii) There are large gaps in the logbook of Shri Jatav at a time when information was flowing from second to second. For instance, there is no entry on 1st November 1984 from 1725 hrs to 1925 hrs that is, a periodof2 hours. Similarly, there is hardly any entry on 2nd November, 1984 from 1720 hrs to 1847 hrs and then again from 1935 hrs to 2225 hrs. These are merely a few examples of the various gaps in the logbook of Shri Jatav.

Iii) Usually three Head Constables used to record the entries in the log book of Shri Jatav, namely, S/shri Abdul Ghafoor, Rama Nand and off and on M.S. Khan. The normal duty of these Head Constables was for about 12 hours at a stretch, and whenever they came on duty or went off duty this fact was recorded in the logbook. Between 31.10.84 after 0825 hrs to 1955 hrs on 3.11.84 there is no handing over and taking over of the logbook. Why this routine was broken needs to be explained. However, the handwriting of these three Head Constables is easily distinguishable and it would appear that they have re-written the logbook for this period. This is apparent from the fact that Shri Abdul Ghafoor has made entries from 0825 hrs on 31.10.84 to 1725 hrs on 1.11.84, which comes to nearly 33 hours. In between we find the hand-writing of Shri Rama Nand for 18 minutes between 2137 to 2155 hrs on 31.10.84 and 20 minutes from 0925 hrs to 0945 hrs on 1.11.84. Similarly, Shri Rama Nand seems to have recorded entries from 1910 hrs on 2.11.84 to 1955 hrs on 3.11.84 i.e. for more than 24 hours, with a break of only 20 minutes between 2320 hrs on 2.11.84, when the handwriting of Shri Abdul Ghafoor appears. The fact that one Head Constable should remain on duty for 33 hrs and another for 24 hours when their normal duty is only for 12 hours at a stretch, casts suspicion on the validity of the entries. It was quite easy tore-write the logbook since there is no page numbering in the logbook and, therefore, plenty of scope for manipulation. perhaps important messages which were not convenient for Sheri Jota will further come to light.

Manipulating or tampering of the wireless logbooks is indeed a very serious matter and assumes greater significance when it is found at the level of such a senior officer. An officer who can attempt this can hardly be expected to control his own subordinates for their acts of omission or commission.

RECOMMENDATION

To sum up, the role of Shri H.C. jatav, Addl. Commissioner of Police (Delhi Range) during the riots has been questionable, partisan and inexcusable. He was obviously in sympathy with some local leaders and disinclined to take action against the culprits. He demoralized the Sikh officers under his charge by ordering their transfers and the substitutes sent miserably failed to control the situation. For an officer of his seniority and experience displaying no will to act when riots were spreading in the capital of the country is indeed deplorable. Such an officer is not fit to be retained in a disciplined. Force. Government would do well by getting rid of him and by so doing Government’s intention of not tolerating such officers will be brought home and this will serve as an example to others who will be deterred from behaving in a similar fashion. It is recommended that Government should consider dealing with him under the provisions of Article 311(2)(b) of the Constitution.

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