Surajpur: The Indian Administrative Service officers association has strongly condemned the actions of District Collector of Chhatisgarh’s Surajpur after social media videos emerged of him slapping a man who was reportedly out to buy medicines on Saturday amid a statewide lockdown.
“It is unacceptable and against the basic tenets of the service and civility. Civil servants must have empathy and provide a healing touch to society at all times, more so in these difficult times,” the IAS Association posted on Twitter.
Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel on Sunday said the incident was condemnable and that he has directed the District Collector to be removed from charge immediately.
“Misbehaviour by an official is unacceptable. I am upset at this incident. I apologise to the youth and his family,” the chief minister said in a tweet in Hindi.
In videos circulating on social media, the District Collector Ranbir Sharma is seen chastisising and slapping a youth who attempts to show him a piece of paper and explain why he was outside during the lockdown. The collector then throws the youth’s phone on the road and ask accompanying policemen to hit him. Sharma is heard saying in the videos “maaro ise” (beat him).
The Surajpur collector Sharma later explained that the man in the viral video had lied to officials that he was on vacation and there was no proper documentation to justify his claim and the person also misbehaved with officials.
Sharma issued an public apology for his outburst stating that his intention was never to disrespect anybody.
Meanwhile, the man in the videos has been charged under the Epidemic Diseases Act for violating COVID-19 norms.