- HD Kumaraswamy's comment was in response to a JDS worker's death
- He was caught on tape telling this to someone, apparently a senior cop
- "It was not my order, I was emotional at that moment," he later said
After a huge backlash over his "kill mercilessly" comment in response to the murder of a party worker on Monday, Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy has offered many explanations. In the latest, he blames it on a slip.
Mr Kumaraswamy, 59, was on Monday caught on tape telling someone - apparently a senior police officer - to "mercilessly kill" those who had hacked to death a local leader of the Janata Dal Secular or JDS. "He (H Prakash) was a good man. I don't know who killed him in this way. Kill the miscreant mercilessly in a shootout. There would be no problem," he was heard saying in a mobile video recorded by journalists.
Since then, he has repeatedly described it as an emotional outburst.
Today, he said: "In an emotional state of mind, instead of saying smoke out, I said shoot out."
Mr Kumaraswamy's predecessor BS Yeddyurappa of the BJP said he should apologise for the comment. The state BJP tweeted that for Mr Kumaraswamy, all that mattered was his party.
Farmers died - No emotions— BJP Karnataka (@BJP4Karnataka) December 25, 2018
Govt officials killed - Doesn't matter
Massive Corruption - That's ok
No development programs - I don't print note
Dalits pushed to Slavery - hmmm
JDS Karyakartha murdered - Orders cops to immediately shoot
For Kumaraswamy all that matters is JDS
As his words provoked sharp and widespread criticism, the Chief Minister on Monday evening defended himself.
"It was not my order, I was emotional at that moment. They (the killers) are the reason for two murders and they were in jail. They came out on bail two days ago and killed another person...this is how they are misusing bail," Mr Kumaraswamy said.
The JDS worker, H Prakash, was hacked to death in Mandya in south Karnataka, reportedly by four men on motorcycles who chased his SUV, forced it to stop and attacked him with machetes.
The killers left him slumped inside the car, soaked in his blood.
The Chief Minister's office later sent a statement: "Prakash was a loyal party worker. The district police have been directed to take steps to arrest the accused."
Mr Kumaraswamy became chief minister of Karnataka in May after forming an alliance with the Congress following elections that threw up a hung verdict.
The JDS' coalition partner Congress has distanced itself from Mr Kumaraswamy's comments. "I don't want to comment on this. Mr Kumaraswamy is quite capable of answering the baseless questions of BS Yeddyurappa," Karnataka Congress chief Dinesh Gundu Rao said.