Express News Service
RAIPUR: Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel ordered the removal of the collector of Surajpur after a video of the latter’s brazen, “high-handed” act went viral on social media.
The collector, Ranbir Sharma, was seen assaulting a youth, smashing his phone, for allegedly violating coronavirus restrictions.
The clip invited strong criticism and many demanded Sharma’s dismissal.
The Chief Minister too took to Twitter to condemn the incident and express regret.
“I have learnt about the incident from the social media. It’s an extremely sad and condemnable act. Such action will not be tolerated in Chhattisgarh”, he tweeted.
किसी भी अधिकारी का शासकीय जीवन में इस तरह का आचरण स्वीकार्य नहीं है।
इस घटना से क्षुब्ध हूँ। मैं नवयुवक व उनके परिजनों से खेद व्यक्त करता हूँ।
— Bhupesh Baghel (@bhupeshbaghel) May 23, 2021
Meanwhile, Sharma has tendered an apology for his behaviour.
“I sincerely apologise for Saturday’s behaviour. Never had any intention to disrespect or belittle the person,” he said but defended his act as one akin to a government employee striving hard to tackle the escalating pandemic crisis.
What does this brazen act of #IASofficer exemplify? #Chhattisgarh Collector in #Surajpur orders police to punish a boy wearing mask, threw away his mobile phone during lockdown. Citizens asking why can’t the DM be humane amid #COVID19 crisis @NewIndianXpress @TheMornStandard pic.twitter.com/Ed9TcuyBDa
— Ejaz Kaiser (@KaiserEjaz) May 22, 2021
However, several bureaucrats took offence at the collector’s “immodest” behaviour and called it “unjustified”.
A former diplomat and strategic affairs expert KC Singh reacted to his apology on Twitter, “When power-wielders break moral/legal code, punishment can’t be an apology,” he wrote and sought an inquiry into the incident, removal of the accused IAS officer for field posting and even his dismissal from service.
“Caning was unnecessary and avoidable,” said R K Vij, Chhattisgarh Special DG.
The official Twitter handle of the IAS Association too strongly condemned the behaviour of the Surajpur collector stating that the civil servants must have empathy at all times particularly amid challenging circumstances.
“It is unacceptable and against the basic tenets of the service and civility,” they stated.