Action against farmers also if guilty: Haryana minister on officer row

Chandigarh, September 9

Faced with farmers standing firm in calls for action against those who ordered the August 28 lathi charge, and against IAS officer Ayush Sinha for his “crack their (farmers’) heads” remark, Haryana Home Minister Anil Vij today said the state will investigate “the entire Karnal episode”.

Vij also cautioned the farmers, who have launched a sit-in protest outside the mini-secretariat at Karnal, saying that action will be taken against them if the probe finds them Haryana.

“We will probe entire Karnal episode… not just Ayush Sinha. We can’t punish officers without a probe,” he said, adding, “If farmer leaders are found guilty we will also take action against them.”

Vij’s comments come amid a days-long stand-off between the state and farmers protesting last month’s lathi charge, which they claim killed one person – Sushil Kajla – and left at least 10 others injured. The police have disputed the death claims; they have said he died of a cardiac arrest.

The farmers have also demanded strict action against former Karnal SDM Ayush Sinha, who was caught on video telling cops to “crack their (farmers’) heads” during the events of August 28.

Sinha’s comments seemed to have been defended by Haryana Chief Minister ML Khattar, who said the official’s words were “not correct” but the situation called for “strictness”.

Incensed, the Samyukt Kisan Morcha has demanded his suspension and the filing of a case against “the murderous official being protected and promoted by Haryana government”. Sinha has since been transferred to another department, but the farmers have said “transferring him is not a punishment”.

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