Tripura government to probe conduct of DM who raided weddings
The Tripura government on Wednesday set up a panel to probe the conduct of a District Magistrate, who harassed guests at two wedding ceremonies for allegedly flouting COVID-19 restrictions. West Tripura DM Shailesh Kumar Yadav had conducted raids at two wedding functions that continued into night curfew hours. Videos of the incident later surfaced on social media, following which the DM issued a clarification.
Panel comprises two Secretary-level IAS officers
The investigating panel comprises two Secretary-level IAS officers - Kiran Gitte and Tanusree Debbarma, according to a report by The Hindu. The officers have been directed to submit the report as soon as possible. Sources told the newspaper that Chief Secretary Manoj Kumar ordered the formation of the panel after meeting Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb over the controversy.
Yadav raided two wedding ceremonies on Monday night
On Monday night, Yadav held raids at two wedding ceremonies at Golap Bagan and Manikya Court as they allegedly violated night curfew rules imposed by the state government. Both the wedding venues are reportedly owned by the state's royal scion Pradyot Kishore Debbarma and his sister. Night curfew has been imposed in Agartala Municipal Council areas from 10 pm to 5 am over COVID-19.
Over 30 people were reportedly arrested, later released
In a video that went viral on social media, Yadav was seen disrupting a wedding ceremony, supposedly after 10 pm. The clip showed him pushing the bridegroom, arguing with the families, ordering the arrest of several guests present there, and tearing up a written permission for the function reportedly signed by himself. Over 30 people were arrested and released later, reported The Indian Express.
You can watch the video here
Tripura West District Magistrate (DM) Dr Shailesh Kumar Yadav ordered closure of 2marriage halls for violating night curfew order in Agartala.— ProNaMo (@Pronamotweets) April 27, 2021
Tough times calls for tough measures..wish to see the same kind of action on other religious gatherings also.#COVID19India pic.twitter.com/wm6TCkJQdO
'Most undesired': Ruling, Opposition leaders slam DM's behavior
The incident has drawn flak from several corners, including the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and Opposition leaders. Former Tripura Chief Minister and Opposition leader Manik Sarkar has condemned the DM's behavior. Separately, BJP leader Pratima Bhowmik said, "The administration is doing what's needed to break the chain of transmission of coronavirus. But what happened last night is most undesired. It should not have happened."
Rebel MLAs of BJP wrote to Chief Secretary
Meanwhile, five rebel legislators of the ruling party reportedly criticized the conduct of the DM in a letter addressed to the Chief Secretary, saying his actions were "insulting, outrageous." They further alleged that Yadav manhandled a police official on duty. Ashish Das, one of the signatories of that letter, even sat on a day-long dharna (strike) at a Mahatma Gandhi statue in Agartala.
Yadav apologized, said did not want to hurt anyone
After the incident gained attention, Yadav had apologized on Tuesday. "All I did was done during the night curfew period last night and was for the benefit and well-being of the people. My intention was not to hurt or humiliate the sentiments of anyone," he reportedly said. He maintained that the functions were in violation of the restrictive orders issued by the state government.
'We are mentally torn,' says the bride's mother
Sabita Deb, the mother of the bride whose wedding was disrupted by the DM, said they have been "mentally devastated" by the incident. "The local police have been kind and helpful but we are really mentally torn after the DM's misbehavior...Never had we imagined that one of the happiest days of our life will take this bizarre turn (sic)," she told ThePrint.