Agartala: Politicians, locals and netizens are expressing anger over the actions of Tripura West District Magistrate (DM) Dr Shailesh Kumar Yadav, who on Monday ordered the closure of two marriage halls for violating the night curfew order issued under Section 144 of CrPC to contain COVID-19 spread in Agartala city.
On Monday, Yadav entered two marriage halls, Gulab Bagan and Manikya Court in Palace Compound, North Gate area around 11 pm, allegedly after receiving complaints from locals of night curfew violation.
In what became a viral video, the Tripura West DM was seen dragging the groom and priest by the collar and ordering the police to arrest them all for violating COVID-19 norms.
People are demanding exemplary punishment for physical assault on the groom, family members and the priest by an officer in high administrative position.
While netizens have expressed anger against Yadav on social media, his comments about police officers and staff have been condemned by people from all walks of life as indecent and unauthorized.
After the raid on Monday, Yadav had told reporters that he will recommend the suspension of the Officer-in-Charge of the West Agartala police station for not acting on repeated complaints of people. “I, as a district magistrate, had to come here. He is hand in gloves with these people, and departmental proceedings should be taken against him,” Yadav had said.
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The Tripura West DM also said that if COVID-19 spreads, these same people would blame the government for not doing anything. “But what they have done? The permission is not beyond 10 pm, and after that, halls have to be closed.”
“People should take this as an example. Unfortunately, these are the educated, rich people behaving like this. What about the people who are not educated. You can make out what the level of responsibility in our population is,” Yadav added.
“DM is highly educated to shout at a personnel in front of his juniors in open public,” one social media user wrote in response to the Tripura West DM’s actions.
Another user wrote: “Good work done, but why he is using slang. He should also be suspended for using unparliamentary language being a government servant.
This is not expected from such educated person which I believe he is.”
“He could have said wind up all in half an hour instead of behaving like a demon. Such people are a shame to humanity. As if corona virus spreads only after 10 pm!” wrote another user.
Another wrote: “Arrest them if law say so. We should follow law. But why slapping a pujari. What kind of language is that.”
Late on Monday, West Tripura MP Pratima Bhoumik apologized for the incident as “unwelcome and unexpected”. In her words, the role of the administration in public safety is commendable.
“However, the incident at the wedding house last night is by no means desirable.”
Bhoumik also visited West Agartala Police Station and discussed the incident with the officials. Later, she told reporters after leaving the police station that it was the responsibility of the administration to ensure the safety of all in the unprecedented COVID-19 situation.
“The incident at the wedding home last night was unfortunate and unexpected,” Bhoumik added.
Meanwhile, five MLAs from the ruling BJP have written a letter to chief secretary Manoj Kumar, demanding high-level inquiry and suspension of the Tripura West DM until the investigation is over.
The five BJP MLAs include Dibachandra Hrangkhwal, Ashish Kumar Saha, Ramprasad Paul, Sushanta Chowdhury, and Asish Das.
“We the members of Tripura Legislative Assembly would like to draw your attention to absolutely boorish and uncultured behavior DM (west) Shailesh Kumar Yadav and the state terrorism indulged by him last night in the ‘Manikya Court’ and ‘Golap Bagan’, in the name of enforcing COVID protocol though both the marriage parties were being organized in full compliance with the COVID protocol notified by Centre and DM (West)”, the letter reads.
In the letter, the MLAs said that the Tripura West DM himself had given permission for both the marriage ceremonies with the stipulation that more than fifty people cannot attend and four vehicles each would be allowed and for this car passes had been issued. Both the marriage ceremonies were being conducted in full compliance with COVID-19 regulations notified by the Centre and state government.
“But the DM with his security guards suddenly materialized in the marriage halls and started threatening and intimidating all and sundry including elderly people as to why they were organizing the marriage party in violation of COVID protocol. When the letter of permission given earlier by the DM was produced Shailesh Yadav tore it up on the face of those attending the marriage party,” it reads.
The notification informed that the Tripura West DM physically assaulted the bride and the groom, pushed out the elderly priest and jostled all elderly people using vile abuses.
“He also openly abused the police personnel, manhandled police on uniform.”
The MLAs said that all the guests, including women, were brought to the police station and while the arrest was being made there was no Mahila police officer present violating the order of Supreme Court that no mahila can be arrested in the midst of night.
A night curfew has been imposed in Tripura between 10 pm to 5 am and all the wedding ceremonies have to be completed by 10 pm. District magistrate of West Tripura entered the two marriage houses and evicted people and even stopped a marriage. Not only that, he ordered the closure of the halls for a year.
Royal scion Pradyot Kishore Deb Barman, who is also the Chairman of Tipraha Indigenous Progressive Regional Alliance (TIPRA) and former President of the Tripura Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) and owner of the Manikya Court, said the matter as ‘most unfortunate and regrettable’ and demanded an inquiry into the incident.