Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy 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 Mandya, went viral.
With the chief minister drawing flak over his response, he said "it was an emotional outburst" and he did not mean it.
The opposition BJP lashed out at Kumaraswamy over the issue and termed it "irresponsible and nonsense".
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, Kumaraswamy purportedly gave instruction to the official over phone, which was caught on camera and went viral.
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.
As he faced criticism, Kumaraswamy told reporters in Vijayapura that he 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 said.
Meanwhile, Kumaraswamy's office also issued a statement saying the comments were an "emotional reaction" to the incident and not orders.
The chief minister recalled there were two murders earlier in the locality and that he had asked the police to be careful as the accused in the crime were released on bail. ".. but no measures were taken. I think that police did not do their duty properly," he said.
The chief minister later visited Mandya to attend the funeral of the JD(S) worker where he expressed his grief and squarely put the blame on the police for its laxity.
State BJP chief BS Yeddyurappa lashed out at the chief minister over the incident. "I never expected this from the chief minister. If he speaks like this, what will happen to the law and order situation? An irresponsible and nonsense statement by Kumaraswamy," he said.
Senior BJP leader Shobha Karandjale said it was a clear case of "anarchy and lawlessness".