Haryana Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala on Sunday promised action against the IAS officer who was caught on camera telling police to “break farmers’ heads” during Karnal protest.
Karnal SDM Ayush Sinha, a 2018-batch IAS officer, was caught on camera telling police to “break farmers’ heads” during the farmers' protest.
Deputy CM and JJP leader Chautala promised action against Sinha amid mounting opposition's attack against the M L Khattar government over the Saturday lathi-charge on farmers. They also demanded strict action against the magistrate.
Meanwhile, Karnal Deputy Commissioner Nishant Kumar Yadav expressed regret over Sinha’s remarks, saying though the intention of the officer was to stop the protesters from breaking barricades, some words used by him were not appropriate.
“Being head of the Karnal district administration, I express regret for those words,” he told reporters in Karnal.
“He is a sincere officer. In the heat of the moment, some words were used which should not have used. However, what he meant was to convey to the police that if protesters break two barricades, they may reach the venue of the meeting and indulge in vandalism,” Yadav said.
Karnal's Superintendent of Police Ganga Ram Punia said two separate FIRs have been lodged over attack on police personnel with stones, blocking national highways and unlawful assembly by the protesters, in which 27 accused have been named, while others are unidentified.
Deputy Commissioner Yadav said “minimal force” was used against the protesters who were blocking the national highway, with some even pelting stones at police.
On Sunday, the Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM), an umbrella body of various farmers' outfits spearheading the farmers' agitation, and opposition parties, upped the ante over the Karnal lathicharge incident.
Addressing a farmers' mahapanchayat at Nuh in Haryana attended by several senior SKM leaders, senior leader Yogendra Yadav said, “The officer (Ayush Sinha) should be immediately dismissed from service.”
Congress leader Bhupinder Singh Hooda said “this is unbecoming of an IAS officer” and asked if the canecharge on farmers was “pre-planned”.
“The action shows the intentions of the government which seems to have already made up its mind to beat the farmers,” he said, demanding an inquiry by a sitting or retired high court judge into the lathicharge incident.
The IAS officer in question, however, said he has not seen the video which has gone viral and that he would check and comment later.
Referring to the Karnal incident, the deputy CM said he was “saddened by the events”, but questioned the ultimate motive of farmer leaders.
“I am saddened by the events, but I want to ask through the media where are those 40 leaders. After all, what is their ultimate motive?” he asked.
He asserted that there was "no insecurity or fear among farmers" over the Centre’s new farm laws, but "some farm leaders and middlemen were fuelling the agitation using their shoulders".
“They want to weaken Haryana's agrarian economy, they want to break its system. They want to put Haryana under turmoil. Why this movement is not going to Punjab, Rajasthan or Uttar Pradesh? Why are the people of Haryana being provoked?” he asked.
“It will become clear in five months if this prolonged agitation is because of the upcoming assembly elections in Punjab,” Chautala added.