Says it was an emotional outburst at the murder of a party worker.
Hubballi: Karnataka chief minister H.D. Kumaraswamy has become embroiled in a controversy after a purported video, showing him ordering a police official to “shoot mercilessly” those who killed a JD(S) worker in Maddur, went viral.
The Opposition BJP lashed out at Mr Kumaraswamy over the issue, terming it “irresponsible and nonsense”.
With the chief minister drawing flak over his response, he responded by saying “it was an emotional outburst” and he did not mean to say that the perpetrators of the brutal crime should be killed but wanted them to be “smoked out” from their hideout as soon as possible.
JD(S) worker H. Prakash (50) was allegedly hacked to death by four men in Maddur town of Mandya district Monday evening, police said.
The assailants stopped Prakash’s car when he was going home and hacked him to death with machetes. Prakash was a former zilla panchayat member.
Tension prevailed in Maddur and Mandya after the incident as people gheraoed the police station demanding immediate arrest of the murderers.
Following the killing of his party man, Mr Kumaraswamy purportedly gave instruction to the official over phone, which was caught on camera and went viral on Tuesday.
In the video, the chief minister is heard saying that there were three murders in the past before he came to Bengaluru and he was disappointed with the police.
“I don’t know how you will handle it (the case)… Because it was your responsibility. I am actually disappointed because it (the murder) brought a bad name. He (who was murdered) was a good person.. There is no problem if you shoot such people mercilessly,” he said alluding to the alleged killers.
“I am least bothered (about the consequences),” the chief minister was further heard saying.
The audio went viral on Tuesday, triggering outrage among several Opposition leaders, including state BJP president B.S. Yeddyurappa who condemned the statement. Demanding an apology from the CM, the BJP tweeted that it is only his party which seemed to matter to the CM.
“If he speaks like this, what will happen to the law and order situation? An irresponsible and nonsense statement by Kumaraswamy,” Mr Yeddyurappa said.
The chief minister said that he had acted in a fit of rage as he knew the victim.
“It is beyond my imagination that such a person can ever be killed. My words were only an emotional outburst, which I did not mean,” he told reporters in Vijayapura on Tuesday.
The chief minister’s office issued a statement saying the comments were an “emotional reaction” to the incident and not orders by Mr Kumaraswamy.
“The killers of the JD(S) leader Prakash, husband of former zilla parishad president Lalitha, are suspected to be involved in two murder cases. I had given a statement to kill them mercilessly in the heat of the moment. It was a slip of the tongue and I have now directed police officials to smoke them out. No violence has erupted due to the murder of our party leader, the police are probing the case to nab the killers”, Mr Kumaraswamy said, in an attempt to contain the damage.