Bengaluru: The People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) on Wednesday filed a complaint with the state human rights commission against Karnataka chief minister H.D. Kumaraswamy for allegedly directing the police to “mercilessly shoot down" the murderers of a Janata Dal (Secular), JD(S), worker in Mandya district, about 90km from Bengaluru.

The complaint by the civil liberties group said that such emotional oral orders are "uncalled for and a clear violation of constitutional provisions". Such orders would create pressure on the police to go beyond the law, it said. “It is a scary development. Such an act is illegal, and it will dilute the spirit of the Constitution," the complaint read.

Kumaraswamy was caught on camera on Monday directing officials to shoot down the murderers, soon after he was told of the killing of JD(S) worker Prakash in Maddur taluka of Mandya district.

His comments also left alliance partner Congress red-faced as it continues to try and corner the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) over extrajudicial killings, abuse of power, and the increasing instances of violence in the run-up to the general election next year. The Congress has trained its guns on the top leaders of the BJP, including party president Amit Shah and Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath over extrajudicial killings and abuse of power to silence opponents.

Kumaraswamy, who has since issued several clarifications, including that it was an emotional statement, has been unable to contain the damage and has been at the receiving end of criticism from political opponents and civil groups.

Kumaraswamy justified his remarks at a public meeting on Monday, saying that his comments were warranted because murderers were given bail and other liberties under the legal system

The Congress, however, has tried to downplay the incident.

“Unless it’s identified that he was speaking to a police officer and he was issuing directions, it does not matter," said a Congress leader, requesting not to be named.

“Kumaraswamy is known to wear his heart on his sleeve and if you take that away from him, you are undermining his popularity," said the person quoted above.

Close