Hours after Haryana Chief Minister ML Khattar appeared to justify an IAS officer's "smash their heads" comment linked to a farmer protest in Karnal on Saturday, his deputy Dushyant Chautala asserted that the officer had been asked for an explanation and could face action.
"What he said...the video was seen throughout the country. The wording used by the officer was not up to the mark as far as his oath of office goes," Dushyant Chautala, Deputy Chief Minister and BJP's Haryana ally told NDTV.
Sub Divisional Magistrate Ayush Sinha's instructions to the police to use force on farmers had been widely circulated and drawn outrage. The anger was even more as the video emerged after 10 people were injured in police action on protesting farmers.
"It is very simple and clear, whoever he is, wherever he is from, no one should be allowed to reach there. We will not let this line be breached at any cost. Just pick up your lathi and hit them hard... It's very clear, there is no need for any instruction, just thrash them hard. If I see a single protester here, I want to see his head smashed, crack their heads," Mr Sinha was heard saying in the video.
Dushyant Chautala said the officer's reply had been sought. "We will take action once the reply comes," said the chief of the Jannayak Janshakti Party.
But he added that the areas in the officer's jurisdiction saw no incident and no force was used by the police.
Mr Chautala said the police only acted when they were attacked by the protesters.
"If somebody attacks you, you will not wait. The police will use force when they are attacked," he said.
Earlier today, Chief Minister Khattar said the "choice of words" by the IAS officer was "not correct" but he had to be strict to maintain order.
"Although the officer's choice of words was not correct, strictness had to be maintained to ensure law and order situation there was kept under check," Mr Khattar said at a press conference.
Mr Chautala, whose party largely draws its support from farmers, denied reports that he is upset with his ally BJP and fears irreversible damage to his support base because of the farmer protests and now, the Karnala violence.
But he ruled out an Akali Dal-style exit from the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA). Asked about the possibility, he replied: "You can't say 100 per cent people are against us. I don't think (we will exit the NDA like the Akalis)."