The Surajpur Collector’s removal is not enough; he should be booked for assault

Lalit Shastri

After a video of the district collector of Surajpur district in Chhattisgath showing him snatching away the mobile phone from a youth and then smashing it on the road before slapping him and getting him beaten up mercilessly by the police went viral, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel announced that Ranveer Sharma, the officer in question has been removed from the post of Surajpur Collector with immediate effect and posted as Joint Secretary in the State Secretariat/Mantralaya.

Baghel has tweeted: ‘Through social media, the case of Surajpur Collector Ranbir Sharma misbehaving with a young man has come to my notice. It is very sad and condemnable. In Chhattisgarh, no such act will be tolerated at all. Instructions have been given to remove Collector Ranbir Sharma with immediate effect. Such conduct is not acceptable in the official life of any officer. I am upset with this incident. I apologize to the young man and his family.” 

The Chief Minister has also ordered that a new mobile phone be given to the victim.
The IAS Association has alao strongly condemned the Collector’s behaviour.

In a tweet the Association said: “It is unacceptable and against the basic tenets of the service & civility.Civil servants must have empathy & provide a healing touch to society at all times, more so in these difficult times.

The Chattisgarh Chief Minister’s response is like a face-saving action whereas the IAS Association is only offering lip service. 

For the outrageous act of violence, the district collector should have been dealt with most severely. He should be booked for assault and damage to personal property followed by show cause for misuse of govt authority and so on.

The incident took place when the Collector was on an inspection of the COVID lockdown with lathi wielding cops.

The errant officer has tendered an apology saying -“First the youth said that he was going to get vaccinated but did not have any document for that. Then he said that he was out to fetch medicine for his grandmother. He was also abusive in his behaviour. It is being said that he was 13 years old, while his age was 23-24 years. I got angry and in a huff slapped him. I apologize for my behavior.”

This collector should know, there is an established norm in the US, where they say: “if you lose your temper at the workplace, be prepared to lose your job”.

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