August 31, 2021 3:34:10 am
A day after Haryana Deputy CM Dushyant Chautala said that the state government will act against the Karnal SDM for his controversial remarks, purportedly asking the police to beat up protesting farmers, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar Monday said that “although the officer’s choice of words was not correct, strictness had to be ensured at the venue (of BJP meeting), where law and order had to be maintained”.
Farmer unions condemned Khattar’s “soft stance” on IAS officer Ayush Sinha’s action, and the Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) expressed “deep shock and objection against the Chief Minister’s defence of the officer”.
The Karnal SDM had earlier told The Indian Express that the video clip of his remarks that went viral on social media “was doctored”, and that “only a selected portion” of his briefing to the police personnel deployed at his naka was made viral.
Replying to questions on Monday, Khattar said: “If any action has to be taken (against the officer), it would first have to be assessed by the district administration. The DGP is also looking into it. We shall see it later. To maintain law and order, strictness had to be ensured.”
“Also, the lathicharge took place at Bastara toll plaza, while the video of the officer that went viral was at a distance of 15 km from the place where lathicharge took place. There is no relation between the two incidents. It is not due to the officer’s briefing that the lathicharge took place,” Khattar said.
“At Bastara toll plaza, where lathicharge took place, another duty magistrate was posted,” he said.
Khattar also said that public sentiment was turning against farmers. “I am getting phone calls that they (farmers) need to be dealt with strictly. But, we are exercising restraint.”
The SKM, meanwhile, demanded that a murder case be registered against the officer. A Kisan Panchayat organised in Gharaunda grain market also issued an ultimatum to the Haryana government, by setting a September 6 deadline for acting against all police officials involved in the lathicharge.
At Gharaunda meeting, farmers asked the state government to lodge an FIR against officers responsible for the lathicharge, or face an indefinite gherao of Mini Secretariat on September 7.
BKU leader Gurnam Singh Chaduni demanded cancellation of all “false” cases lodged against the protesting farmers.