‘Murderers enjoy liberties’: Karnataka CM Kumaraswamy defends remark that triggered furore
A day after he was heard asking a person on the phone to kill the murderers of a Janata Dal (Secular) worker “mercilessly in a shootout”, Karnataka chief minister HD Kumaraswamy said on Tuesday that he was shaken up on hearing about the incident. Speaking to reporters after visiting the family of Prakash, the JD(S) worker who was murdered on Monday in Maddur town in Mandya district, Kumaraswamy said Prakash was known for his work among the people, especially farmers.
“Yesterday, I was informed about the incident in Vijayapura, when I got off at the helipad. I was shaken by this, and in that state I said some things to the police because nowadays in our country, murderers are given bail and other liberties under the legal system. Murderers do not have any fear and it is apparent not just in this case but if one looks at many similar cases,” he said.
“I asked the authorities to take action because one of the assailants had come out on bail and though the local authorities were informed that this might lead to further incidents, there is information that were lapses by the police because of negligence,” the chief minister added.
Accusing the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party of raking up the issue, Kumaraswamy said it was not true that he took action only when workers of his party were attacked. “This should not happen to any citizen in the state. The media need not misunderstand me over the use of the term shootout.”
Watch: Karnataka CM issuing order to ‘Kill mercilessly’
Police on Tuesday arrested four persons in connection with the case, but officials declined to comment on which one of them the chief minister was referring to as having had a history of criminal cases. The police identified the accused as Yogesh, Swami, Shivaraj and Hemanth.
However, the BJP continued to attack Kumaraswamy. State BJP president and former chief minister BS Yeddyurappa called the remarks irresponsible and asked him to apologise to the people of the state.
“A chief minister cannot make such irresponsible remarks. If a chief minister speaks like this, what will happen to the state of law and order? So, he must apologise to the people of the state,” he said.
Yeddyurappa said it was not acceptable that Kumaraswamy was trying to play down the issue by claiming that he had not made the statement as chief minister. “He says he did not make the statement as a chief minister. But how can he separate the two. This is not the first time he has made such irresponsible remarks, and I fear this will have a negative impact on the state,” he said.
The former chief minister called for the death penalty to be awarded to assailants of political party workers, but said that this should follow procedure laid down by the law. “To say that does not mean people in responsible posts can make such statements,” he added.
Advocate Vinay Srinivasa said it was condemnable that the chief minister had made such a statement. “Bail is granted under certain conditions and even if he claims that the criminal justice system is broken, which it is, it is so for the poor. The chief minister should use the opportunity to address this,” he said.
Srinivasa also alleged that the culture of promoting encounters had resulted in increasing injustice rather than promoting justice.