2 MP officials shunted out over alleged mishandling of youth celebrating Ram temple ceremony
Sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) Abhishek Gehlot and sub-divisional officer of police (SDoP) Gladwin Edwardkar have been shunted out to the state secretariat and police headquarters, respectively.Updated: Aug 07, 2020 19:41 IST
Two officials, including one from the police, were shunted out from Madhya Pradesh’s (MP) Khargone district late at night on Thursday following a protest by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders and traders over the alleged manhandling of youths by the district and police authorities, who were celebrating the bhoomi pujan ceremony for the construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya on the previous day.
The youths, who were celebrating after Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday presided over a bhoomi pujan ceremony in Ayodhya for the construction of the Ram temple on the site of the 16th Century Babri Masjid, was allegedly manhandled following the district and police authorities’ orders.
Sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) Abhishek Gehlot and sub-divisional officer of police (SDoP) Gladwin Edwardkar have been shunted out to the state secretariat and police headquarters, respectively, by the Shivraj Singh-led government in MP.
The transfer order was issued after angry traders downed shutters in Kharogone town and took out a protest march on Thursday, demanding action against the alleged errant officials.
BJP’s Gajendra Singh Patel, who represents Khargone constituency in the Lok Sabha, and the party’s national general secretary, Kailash Vijayvargiya, also demanded action against the two officials for their alleged out-of-line action.
The members of jewellers’ association in Khargone alleged that the police officer beat the youths in Sarrafa Bajar while they were celebrating by
bursting firecrackers, as the centuries-old dream of constructing the Ram temple in Ayodhya became a reality on Wednesday.
SDM Gehlot allegedly misbehaved with the youths. While police seized the firecrackers, beat a section of the youngsters and took around 10-11 of them to the local police station, leading to mob fury, allegedly unleashed by unidentified goons, in the town at night on Wednesday.
Vallabh Bhandari, a member of jewellers’ association in Khargone, narrated the sequence of events.
“A section of youths, including an employee in my showroom, Neeraj Joshi, were celebrating at Sarrafa Bazarthe on the occasion of bhoomi pujan for the Ram temple in Ayodhya. However, two officials, along with a team of police personnel, reached the spot and thrashed some of the youths, who were in a joyous mood. They took around 10-11 of them to the police station. None of the elected public representatives came to our help. The youths were released after around 700 people reached the police station. The district and police administration’s reckless act emboldened a mob that went on a rampage at night in our locality, where a number of local residents sustained injuries. However, no first information report (FIR) was filed regarding the mob fury,” Bhandari said.
He maintained that the local residents have protested, as the district and police authorities manhandled the youths for celebrating a momentous joyous occasion.
The district police authorities, however, joined issued with Bhandari’s assertions.
“There is a ban on the bursting of crackers in Khargone, a communally-sensitive town. The situation could have snowballed into a communal conflagration had timely action was not taken,” said a police official, requesting anonymity.
State Congress spokesperson Bhupendra Gupta was quick to wade into the row and blamed the ruling BJP for the incident.
“Similar incidents have been reported from Guna, Dewas, and other places, where district authorities have a free hand to run amok and harass locals. Officials have been transferred to divert the public’s attention from the issue. The BJP is responsible for a spike in such incidents,” Gupta alleged.
State home minister Narottam Mishra justified the officials’ transfer.
“Prima facie, the SDM and SDoP were found guilty and they have been transferred. The state government is in control of maintaining law and order Khargone town,” Mishra told media persons.
SDO Gehlot evaded his transfer issue and said that he “is busy in a meeting and will speak later”. While SDoP Edwardkar was not available for his comment, despite repeated attempts.
KS Sharma, ex-chief secretary, MP, said, “The district authorities need to do a tightrope walk between maintaining law and order and taking actions that come across as prudent and efficient for the larger community good.”