The Haryana government on Wednesday appointed a retired judge of Punjab and Haryana High Court, Justice (retd) Somnath Aggarwal, to probe the sequence of events leading to the lathicharge on protesters at the Bastara toll plaza in Karnal on August 28.
The decision was taken during a cabinet meeting chaired by chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar in Chandigarh on Wednesday. “The Commission of Inquiry will probe the circumstances leading up to and including the action by the Police at Karnal on August 28, 2021 and the use of force against the demonstrators. The Commission will also ascertain persons responsible for the said situation and will further inquire into the role of Sh. Ayush Sinha, Sub-divisional Magistrate, Karnal, in the action by the Police on August 28, 2021. The Commission will complete the inquiry and submit the report to the State Government within a period of one month from the date of publication of notification in the Official Gazette”, the state government said in a statement released on Wednesday.
IAS officer Ayush Sinha has already proceeded on leave and shall remain on leave till the pendency of inquiry.
Several farmers and police personnel had sustained injuries as the cops lathicharged the farmers at the Bastara toll plaza, about 15 km from the hotel where top state BJP leaders were holding an internal party meeting. Ayush Sinha, who was then posted as SDM, Karnal, was allegedly caught on camera instructing policemen to “break the heads” of protesting farmers.
A large number of farmers sat on a protest outside Karnal’s mini-secretariat after the purported video of the SDM went viral. The additional chief secretary rank officer of the Haryana government, Devender Singh, managed to end the standoff after multiple rounds of talks with the farmers’ representatives.
The government had assured the farmers that the lathicharge incident on August 28 would be investigated by a committee led by a retired High Court judge.
Notably, two family members of farmer Sushil Kajal, who died after receiving injuries in the lathicharge incident, have been provided jobs on compassionate grounds.