Chandigarh: Drawing flak from most quarters over the handling of sect leader Rampal episode, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar Wednesday finally defended the police action.
"The government is committed to upholding the law and ensuring strict compliance with the directions of court. All are equal before the law, and the government is working dispassionately without any pressure or favouritism," Khattar said in a statement.
Khattar had avoided comment on the Rampal issue in the past nearly 10 days.
Controversial sect leader Rampal and his followers Tuesday fought pitched battles with security forces which wanted to arrest him following high court orders.
Six deaths, including of five women and an infant, have been reported in the stand-off.
Khattar and his government have been criticised for not taking action against Rampal earlier.
"The government is proceeding carefully and cautiously to arrest Sant Rampal, chief of Satlok Ashram. Our first priority is to safely take out the innocent children, women and aged persons stranded in the ashram, and also make arrangements for their safe passage to their homes," he said.
"The police are working with great wisdom, restraint and in a planned manner," Khattar said, defending the police action.
Hoping that the operation against Rampal would end soon, Khattar said the police would produce him before the court after arresting him.
Khattar also expressed concern over the beating up of media persons by the police Tuesday.
Terming it as an "incident of misbehaviour", he promised that the whole incident would be investigated.
Khattar said: "Despite the incidents of firing, stone-pelting and throwing of acid and petrol bombs from inside the ashram, the police exercised extreme restraint as its main aim was to ensure the safety and security of the thousands of innocent people stranded in the ashram."
In his tweets earlier, Khattar said: "Serious charges of sedition against Rampal and several followers by Haryana Police. Operations to continue till he is arrested."
"Government and police are committed to ensure strict compliance of high court orders. The priority is to uphold the law without loss of innocent lives."