Haryana: Khattar defends SDM who asked to 'break heads' of farmers
Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Monday defended Karnal sub-divisional magistrate Ayush Sinha whom a video purportedly shows ordering police to “break heads” if protesting farmers try to breach a barricade, saying the choice of words was incorrect but the situation warranted strict action.
The BJP chief minister’s comments came a day after his deputy from ally JJP, Dushyant Chautala, had said action would “definitely” be taken against Sinha.
Upset at Khattar’s remarks, the Samyukta Kisan Morcha, which has been spearheading the farmers’ protest against three farm laws, set the Haryana government a September 6 deadline to dismiss Sinha and lodge a murder case against him for a farmer’s death.
Police had lathi-charged farmers near a toll plaza on Saturday when they tried to head to Karnal town to stop a state-level BJP meeting that Khattar was to attend. A farmer, Sushil Kaajal, who was said to have suffered injuries in the police action died of a heart attack later.
“It is utterly shocking that the chief minister of the state is choosing to brush aside the barbaric and illegal instructions as only a wrong choice of words,” the Morcha said.
“It once again clearly reiterates what we have been saying, which is that the Khattar-Chautala government is at war with its own people.”
Khattar did not rule out action against Sinha but attached several caveats as he addressed a news conference in Chandigarh.
“Though the officer’s choice of words was not correct, strictness had to be maintained to ensure that the law-and-order situation there was kept under check,” he said.
“If any action has to be taken (against Sinha), it will first have to be assessed by the district administration. The DGP is also looking into it. To maintain law and order, strictness had to be ensured.”
Khattar questioned the protesting farmers’ strategy of boycotting ministers and BJP functionaries.
“Today, you have called me here. But if somebody says they would not allow the chief minister to reach a certain place, is that correct?” he said.
Khattar said the farmers were not gaining any support with such actions and that there was a public demand to deal with them strictly.