Not everything about the recent “farmer protests” is what is seems.
Today, several news outlets reported that Punjab’s DIG of prisons, Lakhminder Singh Jakhar, had resigned from his post over the farm laws. “Serving Punjab Police DIG quits in solidarity with the protesting farmers,” wrote Times Now. “Punjab DIG Prisons resigns in support of farmers’ protest,” wrote Indian Express Punjab.
The “news” was quickly picked up by propaganda pages, who tried to show how his resignation meant that the protests were picking up steam.
But as it turns out, Lakhminder Singh didn’t have to resign — he had been suspended many months ago.
Lakhminder Singh was suspended in May this year for allegedly taking money from jail officials on a regular basis. “Punjab on Saturday suspended DIG Jails (Amritsar) Lakhwinder Singh Jakhar on corruption charge,” a Tribute report from 9th May this year had said. “Minister for Jails SS Randhawa said a departmental inquiry had been ordered. ADGP Jails PK Sinha said the action followed a preliminary inquiry by IG Jails into allegations by Deputy Superintendent Vijay Kumar, in charge of the Patti sub-jail,” it added.
“Kumar alleged that during a visit on April 7, Jakhar and his staff demanded a monthly bribe and while he paid Rs 10,000, one of the jail warders paid Rs 3,000 to the DIG’s driver. The inquiry recommended action against Jakhar and a charge-sheet was filed. Jakhar denied the charges, saying there was “more to it”,” the report said.
But Singh has now gone ahead and tendered his resignation, ostensibly over the farm bills. He has told reporters he will be joining the farm protests.
Lakhminder Singh Jakhar’s resignation is straight out of the leftist playbook, in which officials who are already suspended or looking to leave the force publicly resign to draw attention to a protest. During the CAA protests last year, IPS officer Abdur Rahman had publicly tweeted that he was resigning in protest of the Citizenship Amendment Bills. It had later turned out that he was looking to quit anyway — he had applied for voluntary retirement four months before the protests had begun, and his request had then been turned down. He had then gone ahead an “resigned” over the Citizenship Amendment Act.