Agartala: West Tripura District Magistrate (DM) Shailesh Kumar Yadav, whose action on two marriage halls for violating night curfew norms drew the ire of people from across the nation, has written a letter to chief secretary Manoj Kumar requesting to relieve him of his post with immediate effect.
While Yadav made the request so that a free and fair inquiry could be conducted by a high-level committee, a section of media has been reporting that Yadav was suspended for his actions on Sunday.
He tweeted on Monday, “A free and fair inquiry is not possible if you continue working on the same position. One needs to leave the position for that to happen.”
Law minister Ratan Lal Nath has, however, clarified that Yadav’s request to “relinquish charge as DM and collector of West Tripura district” has been accepted by the chief secretary.
“The chief secretary has accepted his request and has appointed Raval Hamendra Kumar to take charge as DM of West Tripura with immediate effect. Raval is currently the director of industries and commerce,” Nath said.
Reacting to media reports that said he had been suspended, Yadav tweeted: “I accept suspension. What I did was considering the COVID-19 pandemic. And according to me I did the right thing.”
In a letter on Sunday, Yadav wrote that the government of Tripura has constituted a high-level committee to inquire into the incidents that happened in the night of April 26 during marriage ceremonies that were being held in violation of COVID-19 night curfew at Manikya Court and Golap Bagan, Agartala.
“In the interest of an impartial enquiry I request for relinquishment of my charge as DM and collector of West Tripura district,” Yadav said.
Yadav shot into the limelight after a video of him thrashing a groom for flouting the night curfew went viral on April 27. Following this, the Tripura DM faced major backlash from politicians, netizens and locals, while many others showed their support for the officer.
Although Yadav has been relieved of the post of West Tripura DM, he would remain in charge of the additional departments he was awarded on April 29, three days after the incident.
A notification issued by joint secretary to the government of Tripura S Roy Choudhury on April 29 said that Yadav, presently holding charge as West Tripura District Magistrate with additional charge of chief executive officer, Agartala Smart City Limited, will be also holding additional charges of commissioner, Tripura Urban Development Authority (TUDA), chief executive officer, Tripura Jal Board and Mission and Director of Agartala Smart City Limited.
The development came following the central deputation of Dr Mahatme Sandeep Namdeo, director of urban development as deputy secretary in Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
In a video of the district magistrate that went viral, Tripura DM Yadav was seen thrashing the groom by his collar, beating the priest and using unparliamentary language against relatives.
Later on Friday, Yadav appeared before a committee consisting of IAS officers Kiran Gitte and Tanushree Debbarma. The duo will submit their report to the Chief Secretary after completing the inquiry, after which the report would be handed over to Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb.
However, after appearing before the committee, Yadav told EastMojo, “It is my duty to enforce the law and maintain order for the preventive spread of COVID-19. That’s what I did that night and I stand by what I did,” Yadav had said.