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Kisan Andolan: Hit Them In The Head If They Pass a Barricade, Says Haryana Officer

The Karnal Sub-Divisional Magistrate alleged that the social media videos were digitally altered and just parts of his instructions were shown.

Chintu Das
Farmers Protest
Farmers Protest

On Saturday, Karnal Sub-Divisional Magistrate Ayush Sinha was recorded on tape directing police officials to strike farmers on the heads if they attempted to break a particular roadblock during a demonstration against Bharatiya Janata Party politicians in Haryana.

“See, your mission is really clear; no one should be allowed to approach there, whomever he is, wherever he comes from,” Sinha tells a group of police officers in a widely shared social media video. “Let me be clear: if they violate the cordon, just shatter their [farmers'] heads.”

Several political figures, including BJP politician Varun Gandhi, reacted angrily to the Indian Administrative Service officer's remarks. Gandhi tweeted, "I hope this video is altered and the DM did not say this." “Otherwise, doing this on our own countrymen is unthinkable in democratic India.”

At least ten farmers were hurt when state police used batons on them at the Bastara toll plaza near Karnal. Farmers have blocked numerous portions of the national highway in protest of the government's three agricultural legislation, causing traffic congestion.

The Samyukta Kisan Morcha, which represents over 40 protesting farmer unions, denounced the police brutality and asked that Sinha be suspended for his remarks.

However, Sinha told that during the demonstration, “stone pelting had started in several places” and that the police had been instructed to “use force proportionately.”

Officials reportedly attempted to excuse his remarks, stating that he "did not say anything improper and was only performing his job in such a stressful situation."

Sinha stated that he was on duty at the last checkpoint, which was in close proximity to a conference convened by Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar to discuss the impending panchayat elections.

“Any element that got there would have already broken two nakas [checkpoints] before that,” he said. “The third naka was conveniently located near the meeting location. There was a good chance that any violation of the third condition would result in vandalism, and these protesting organizations included some unscrupulous elements. It may have posed a security risk.”

The officer further stated that the recordings being circulated on social media had been digitally altered and that portions of his instructions had been removed. He told The Indian Express, "I was educating them [the cops] on the procedure, a checklist as per rules of the CrPC [Code of Criminal Procedure]." “I informed them that we would provide warnings to the protesters, then deploy water cannons, announce tear gas shooting, and, if necessary, employ lathicharge.”

Congress General Secretary Randeep Surjewala accused the Haryana administration of acting like Reginald Edward Harry Dyer, the British army officer who was responsible for the 1919 Jalianwala Bagh massacre in Amritsar.

Rahul Gandhi, the Congress leader, posted a photo of injured protestors wearing blood-stained clothing. He tweeted, "The blood of farmers has been spilt once more, and the country lowers its head in humiliation."

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