Chhattisgarh chief minister Raman Singh is generally known to be a mild-mannered political leader who takes criticism in his stride. His low-profile image stands in stark contrast to those of his meteoric counterparts in many states.
But on October 7, people were shocked when he ordered the police to take away a local Youth Congress leader who asked him an uncomfortable question at a function here that was attended by union ministers Sharad Pawar and Charan Das Mahant.
“He is drunk. Take him away,” Singh told police officers on security duty at the function. Anwar Hussain, 30 — who raised doubts about the state’s paddy production records while the chief minister was addressing farmers — was not only whisked away from the venue but severely thrashed by the police later.
“The medical report confirmed that he has suffered loss of hearing and the left eardrum was perforated,” his lawyer Zahir Ahmed told HT on Monday.
“I never knew such brutal treatment would be meted out to me by the police just for asking how paddy production could be increased when the area under cultivation remained the same,” Hussain told HT. “It is only after I threatened to commit suicide that the police officers stopped battering me,” he said.
State BJP spokesperson Shivratan Sharma justified the police action: “It is wrong to say that the CM lost his patience. One needs to maintain decorum at a public meeting. If anyone in a drunken state creates a ruckus, he deserves to be punished and the police did the right thing.”
Hussain has lodged a police complaint against the police officers who assaulted him but no FIR has been registered so far. On Monday, Hussain filed a complaint before the state human rights commission, asking for an inquiry and punishment for the policemen for their alleged cruelty.