IAS officer Sriram Venkitaraman, who recently took on the role of Alappuzha District Collector, has been transferred days after he took up the post. In an order dated Monday, August 1, the Kerala government said that he will now be in charge of the State Civil Supplies Corporation. VRK Teja Mylavarapu, the director of the Scheduled Castes Development Department, will take over as the new Collector of the coastal district. The government's decision comes after days of protests by political parties and journalist associations.
After his appointment as collector of Alappuzha district, multiple protests broke out demanding Sriram's resignation. Sriram is facing trial in a case of driving in an inebriated state and running over journalist KM Basheer in August 2019. Recently, on July 30, Muslim organisations linked to the Sunni group backed by Kanthapuram AP Aboobacker Musaliyar protested against Sriram outside the Thiruvananthapuram secretariat, demanding his resignation. Sunni Students Federation (SSF) had called the situation “highly deplorable” as the government was appeasing bureaucrats, instead of turning away tainted officers from key positions. While the protest by Sunni groups (that have been friendly to the Left) had left the government shaken, protests were also held by Congress, Muslim League and several journalist associations.
Following the controversy surrounding journalist Basheer’s death, Sriram was briefly suspended in 2019, but was back in the administrative services later. Before he was appointed the Alappuzha collector, Sriram held the post of Joint Secretary of the Health and Family Welfare Department. He, along with other IAS officers, were given new posts on July 24 as part of a major reshuffling of IAS officers.