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Injured young officer pressed Army into action to avoid Jat stir repeat

CHANDIGARH: It could have been a repeat of the unprecedented Jat agitation violence that had rocked Haryana in February 2016, if Deputy Commissioner Gauri Parasher Joshi had not pressed the Army into action when violence and arson reigned supreme in Panchkula on Friday.

Injured young officer pressed Army into action to avoid Jat stir repeat

DC Gauri Parasher Joshi surrounded by security personnel in Panchkula on Friday. TRIBUNE PHOTO: RAVI KUMAR



Nitin Jain

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 27

It could have been a repeat of the unprecedented Jat agitation violence that had rocked Haryana in February 2016, if Deputy Commissioner Gauri Parasher Joshi had not pressed the Army into action when violence and arson reigned supreme in Panchkula on Friday.

After being outnumbered by the thousands of rampaging dera followers, the local police had fled the spot, leaving the young officer to almost fend for herself.

It was her experience of having served in the Naxal-affected district of Kalahandi in Odisha that helped the 2009-batch IAS officer from Odisha cadre, who is on deputation to Haryana, not only to save her life but also to save the situation from totally slipping out of control.

The Panchkula violence and arson left at least 32 dead and more than 250 persons injured, besides damaging property worth crores of rupees.

As the mob turned violent on hearing the news of the conviction of Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, the 36-year-old District Magistrate faced stone-throwing by the rampaging dera followers, who had swarmed Panchkula for the past couple of days, for some time by herself, as the police force beat a hasty retreat (read fled the spot).

During the ensuing violence and arson, this mother of an 11-month-old suffered injuries and even her clothes got torn. Left alone with a single PSO, she then decided to go to her office and issue an order to hand over the situation to the Army, which helped avoid further deterioration of the situation.

In the chaotic situation, she again returned to the field. “It was the concern for the city, which was on the boil, that remained uppermost in my mind,” said the bureaucrat.

On Saturday, Gauri reached home at 3 am but not before going around every nook and corner of the city and seeing for herself that the situation had been brought under control after dispersing the rioters. After spending a few hours, she left again for the field.

During the violence on Friday, the injured DC continued to boost the morale of the district machinery. “When I reached home in the wee hours, the family was shocked to see my blood-soaked clothes,” shared the journalist-turned-bureaucrat, an English Literature postgraduate from Delhi’s St Stephen’s College.

“She, however, still refused to go to hospital, saying that the hospital resources were too stretched and did not want to dislocate their work for her relatively less serious injury,” recalled her 2003-batch IAS officer husband Ajit Balaji Joshi, who is the Deputy Commissioner in Chandigarh.

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