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On Karnal lathicharge, Haryana Chief Secy seeks detailed report from DC

Vardhan has asked Karnal Deputy Commissioner Nishant Kumar Yadav to seek comments of Ayush Sinha, the IAS officer in the eye of a storm over his remarks against the protesters, and include it in his report.

Written by Varinder Bhatia | Chandigarh |
August 31, 2021 8:19:53 pm
Police personnel lathicharge protesters in Karnal on Saturday. (Express Photo)

Haryana Chief Secretary Vijai Vardhan on Tuesday sought a detailed report from Karnal Deputy Commissioner on Saturday’s police lathicharge on protesting farmers in the district.

Sources said Vardhan has also asked Karnal Deputy Commissioner Nishant Kumar Yadav to seek comments of Ayush Sinha, the IAS officer in the eye of a storm over his purported directions to police to take action against the protesters, and include it in his report.

Sinha is currently posted as Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) in Karnal and was appointed duty magistrate between Bastara toll plaza on the national highway and Prem Plaza hotel in Karnal city, where the ruling BJP was holding its party meeting that day.

Police used lathicharge on the farmers at Bastara toll plaza when the protesters tried to push their way through towards Karnal city. Several farmers and police personnel were injured in the clash.

While opposition parties have slammed the state government for use of force, Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar has defended the use of force by the police, calling it “part of police’s duty to maintain law and order”.

Objectionable remarks by Sinha, a 2018-batch IAS officer, while briefing police personnel at the last naka before Karnal city had led to a controversy. While videos had shown Sinha purportedly asking the police to beat up protesting farmers, the SDM later told The Indian Express that the video clip of his remarks that was shared widely on social media was “doctored”, and that “only a selected portion” of his briefing to police personnel was made viral.

Khattar and Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala have condemned Sinha’s language, and both have so far defended the police action, calling it necessary to maintain law and order and blaming a section of protesters for turning violent.

While Dushyant had on Sunday said that the state government will take action against the IAS officer for his controversial remarks, Khattar on Monday said it was subject to “assessment” — to be first made by the district administration and then “at the level of the government”.

Sources said the state government is facing a lot of criticism from various quarters to take action against Sinha for his objectionable remarks, even as the officer maintains that no lathicharge took place at the lake where he was deputed, and also where he was shown briefing the police personnel in the video that went viral.

On Monday, Khattar told the media that there was “no relation between the two incidents — Bastara toll plaza where the lathicharge took place and the third and final naka near the BJP’s meeting venue, where the officer was shown briefing the police personnel. The two spots were 15 kilometres apart, and there is no relation in both the incidents.”

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