A bureaucrat posted in Haryana’s Karnal district, who was caught on camera last week ordering the police to smash the heads of protesting farmers, has been transferred, PTI reported on Wednesday
Ayush Sinha, the sub-divisional magistrate of Karnal, will now serve as the additional secretary at Haryana’s Citizen Resources Information Department, the news agency reported, citing a government order.
On August 28, there was unrest in Haryana after the police baton-charged a group of farmers heading to Karnal to protest against a meeting of Bharatiya Janata Party leaders.
Sinha was on duty near the hotel where the meeting was taking place, according to The Indian Express.
Sinha instructed police officers deployed at the site not to let the farmers breach a barricade. “Let me state clearly, just smash their [farmers] heads [if they break the cordon],” he said in a video widely shared video on social media.
Sinha’s comments triggered massive outrage. Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar also criticised his choice of words, but said that “strictness had to be maintained to ensure law and order”.
The officer also sought to justify his orders amid the controversy. “There was a high possibility that any breach of the third naka [checkpoint near the venue of the meeting] would have led to vandalisation, and also certain unscrupulous elements were part of these protesting groups,” he had told The Indian Express.
The officer claimed that the videos being shared on social media were doctored and had selected bits of his orders. “I was briefing them [the policemen] on the procedure, a checklist as per provisions under the CrPC [Code of Criminal Procedure],” he had said.
Sinha added: “I told them that we would give them [protestors] warnings, followed by use of water cannons, announcement of tear gas firing and then lathi-charge, if need be.”