Chhattisgarh CM removes Surajpur Collector seen slapping youth over lockdown rules

Surajpur Collector Ranbir Sharma was caught on camera slapping and assaulting a youth for allegedly breaking lockdown rules.
Chhattisgarh CM removes Surajpur Collector seen slapping youth over lockdown rules
Chhattisgarh CM removes Surajpur Collector seen slapping youth over lockdown rules
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Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel has ordered the removal of Surajpur Collector Ranbir Sharma after a video of him showed him slapping a youth for allegedly violating lockdown rules. Condemning the act, Baghel said that he got to know about the incident through social media and said that instructions have been issued for the removal of the IAS officer from the post. 

Soon after the CM's directive, the state government transferred Sharma to the Mantralaya (secretariat) in Nava Raipur as joint secretary (waiting). The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Raipur Zila Panchayat, Gaurav Kumar Singh, has been appointed as the new collector of Surajpur. Gaurav Kumar Singh has been appointed the new Collector of Surajpur.

“Through social media, a case of misbehavior with a young man by Surajpur Collector Ranbir Sharma 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,” the Chhattisgarh Chief Minister tweeted on Sunday. “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,” he added in another tweet.

Sharma is an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer of the Chhattisgarh cadre (2012 batch). In the video that went viral on social media sparking massive criticism, the Collector can be seen standing in front of the man, who is seen pleading and showing a piece of paper and something on his mobile phone to the collector, who then takes the device and throws it to the ground. The collector then slaps the man and police officers present at the spot hit him, apparently at the instance of the civil servant, according to the video.

The IAS association had also strongly condemned the behaviour of the Collector, saying it was against the basic tenets of the service and civility. “"The IAS Association strongly condemns the behaviour of Collector Surajpur, Chhattisgarh. It is unacceptable & 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 IAS (central) association tweeted.

After the IAS Association’s statement, the Collector issued a statement, claiming that the person he hit was not a minor as many claimed. He alleged that the youth misbehaved with officials. In a statement issued on Saturday, Collector Ranbir Sharma said, "Today a video is viral on social media in which I am shown slapping a man who was out during lockdown. I sincerely apologise for today's behaviour. I never had any intention to disrespect or belittle the person in the video."

"In this pandemic situation, district Surajpur along with the entire Chhattisgarh state has been facing irreparable loss of lives. We all employees of the state government are striving hard to tackle this problem," he added. Sharma said the man was riding a bike and was overspeeding. "The man also misbehaved with officials," the collector said. A police official said the man has been charged under the Epidemic Diseases Act for violating COVID-19 norms.

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