Tripura DM removed for ‘high handedness’ in enforcing curfew at marriages


AGARTALA, May 3:  The Tripura government has removed West Tripura District Magistrate and Collector Shailesh Kumar Yadav for his alleged “high handedness” in dealing with the people in two marriage halls in Agartala recently amidst the night curfew imposed to curb the alarming rise in Covid-19 cases, a Minister said on Monday.

Yadav, who earlier apologised for disrupting the marriage ceremonies during the raids on April 26, in a letter to the Chief Secretary Manoj Kumar on Sunday requested to be relieved from the post of District Magistrate and Collector pending an inquiry into the incident that rocked the state and many parts of the country. Tripura Education and Law Minister Ratan Lal Nath on Monday said that responding to Yadav’s request he has been relieved from the post and Director Industries and Commerce Raval Hamendra Kumar has been appointed as the new West Tripura District Magistrate and Collector.

The Tripura High Court following a petition on Monday has served a notice to the Tripura government to submit video footage, necessary evidence and other documents in connection with the April 26 incidents in the two marriage halls.

After the controversy over the April 26 incident, Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb had asked the Chief Secretary to submit a report about the DM’s actions in dealing with the holding of the marriage ceremonies defying the night curfew and the SOPs. The state government had also constituted a two member committee to probe the incident. Former Chief Minister Manik Sarkar, at least five MLAs of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, Tripura Women Commission Chairperson Barnali Goswami, all the opposition parties vehemently criticised the DM for his “unsavoury” behaviour and actions. One of the five MLAs Ashish Das also held demonstrations protesting the DM’s actions.

Following a direction by Yadav, as many as 31 people, including 19 women, were detained by the police from the marriage halls for violating the night curfew and other Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) enforced to curb the Covid spread. However, all the 31 people were subsequently released from the West Agartala police station.

The Tripura Chief Secretary earlier in an order imposed a night curfew in Agartala Municipal Corporation area from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. from April 22 onwards.The order said that in closed spaces, a maximum of 50 per cent of the seating or hall capacity should be allowed for any social, cultural, entertainment or political gathering with a ceiling of 100 persons while in open spaces, higher numbers may be allowed based on the size of the ground with a ceiling of 200 persons.

“If anyone got hurt due to my action, I am apologising for that. I have done this for the larger interest of the society and the people. I have taken the strict action to give a message to the people to maintain the government SOP,” Yadav told a local television channel after the controversy.

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