While Haryana was burning amid the ongoing Jat agitation, a 90-second audio clip has revealed purported conversation between a close aide of former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and a Khap leader, allegedly to incite violence.
Party Secretary Shrikant Sharma said, “It is clear from the tape that there was a big conspiracy against the state government. The BJP expects Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi to refrain from indulging in divisive politics.”
Although the authenticity of the tape has yet to be confirmed, the BJP state government said it would order an inquiry, reported PTI.
Prof Virender, advisor to former Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda of Congress, had accepted that it was his voice in the clip, but alleged that the conversation has been “doctored”.
Congress had sought explanation from Prof Virender over the audio clip.
“We have sought an explanation from him (Prof Virender). We have sent the clip circulating in social media and allegations have been levelled that he has been instigating protests to start in other districts which were completely peaceful, that too seeking support from our rival party INLD,” Haryana Congress President Ashok Tanwar said.
According to health minister Anil Vij, despite government’s attempts the stir intensified it was suspected some forces wanted it to flare up.
“We suspected there was some director behind the scene who who was trying to inflict damage on the state to reap political benefits. Our government will order an inquiry into the clip which has gone viral. Anyone who is found guilty of inflamming passions won’t be spared,” Vij said.
Leader of Opposition in Haryana Assembly, Abhay Singh Chautala said the clip makes it clear how “attempt” is being made to “instigate” the protesters “sitting peacefully”.
Virender told PTI, “I don’t know if my phone was being tapped. But someone has uploaded the clip with malafide intention.”
He said he was talking to Khap leader Capt Man Singh over phone. “Nowhere have I talked about instigating Jats or anyone. Moreover, the conversation is an old one, much before the current unrest started,” he said.
He claimed that the clip has been doctored.
“Things have started to come out before the public now. We are appealing to the people of Haryana they must cooperate in restoring peace, order and harmony,” Haryana’s Education Minister Ram Bilas Sharma said.
Haryana Janhit Congress chief Kuldeep Bishnoi said that “in the garb of reservation, some political leaders in the state were playing dirty caste politics”.
Meanwhile, Haryana government has announced full compensation for damage caused to private properties, both commercial and residential, as well as ex-gratia of Rs 10 lakh to the kin of the 19 killed in the Jat agitation for reservation. “It was decided that a senior IAS officer shall be deputed as a nodal officer to assess the damage caused to private properties in both urban and rural areas,” a state government spokesman said.
Trade and industry body Assocham pegged the loss due to the agitation at well over Rs 20,000 crore and some reports estimate them to be over Rs 34,000 crore.