CM’s ‘shoot mercilessly’ remark kicks up a controversy

Last Updated 25 December 2018, 19:54 IST

Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy courted controversy over his remarks after the killing of a JD(S) leader in Maddur, triggering a backlash from his political rivals on Tuesday.

Kumaraswamy was caught on camera on Monday reportedly instructing Mandya police over the phone to “shoot” the criminals responsible for killing his party leader in Maddur taluk of Mandya district.

While the chief minister was quick to realise his gaffe and tried to play it down saying it was “an emotional outburst”, his words had already snowballed into a major controversy at the national level.

His statement, that went viral on social media, provided ammunition to his political opponents to pounce on him.

Lashing out at the Chief Minister, BJP Karnataka president B S Yeddyurappa said the statement reflects his state of mind. “Is this something expected of the CM of a state? Is the CM giving the police freedom to shoot anybody? Has he ever thought what will happen to the law and order situation with his statements? He should immediately apologise to the people of Karnataka,” Yeddyurappa reacted. BJP parliamentarian from Udupi-Chikkamagaluru Shobha Karandlaje too hit out at Kumaraswamy on Twitter accusing him of pushing the state towards anarchy.

The backlash was not just confined to political circles but also evoked severe criticism from former IPS officers and advocates.

Shankar Bidari, former director general and inspector general of police (DG&IGP) said that one must understand that a few orders have to be passed within the four walls and some in the public. “The CM should not have spoken like that in public. He should have ordered a thorough investigation to find out who the assailants were and then bring them before the law. Sometimes, these orders can take a different turn,” he told DH.

On Monday, a visibly upset Kumaraswamy while touring Koppal district was caught on tape saying, “I don’t know how you will handle it. I am disappointed because it brought a bad name. He was a good person. There will not be any problem even if you shoot such people mercilessly. I am least bothered about the consequences.”

Addressing reporters in Vijayapura on Tuesday HDK said, “I was emotional at that moment and blurted it out in emotion. I cannot even think that such a person can ever be killed.” He also said he wanted the culprits “smoked out” and not “shot”. The Chief Minister’s Office too clarified that it was only an emotional reaction and not an official

Reaction from Congress

As the clamour against Kumaraswamy grew louder, the Congress in Karnataka chose to distance itself from the controversy.

Grappling with dissidence in the party, KPCC chief Dinesh Gundu Rao reacted, “I don’t know what he (HDK) commented. But I think CM Kumaraswamy is capable of replying to all these allegations.”

B B Ashok Kumar, a retired ACP said, “It is not a jungle raj to give such orders, ours is a democratic country. The law, in itself, does not accept the word ‘shoot’. The provision of shooting, whether for the police or public, is only at the time of self-defence. Nobody has powers to order shooting as it would be a violation of human rights.”

M T Nanaiah, a senior criminal advocate said that the chief minister should not have spoken in such a way in public as he is holding a responsible position.

‘Have patience’

“He should have had more patience and behaved in a more mature way. There is a separate protocol for chief minister, prime minister and other VVIPs on how to behave in public and he has violated it. If Rajiv Gandhi had behaved in the same why when his mother Indira Gandhi was assassinated, how would the situation be? This is not the way how a CM reacts in public.”

(Published 25 December 2018, 07:21 IST)

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