In a brazen display of highhandedness, Tripura West District Magistrate (DM) Dr Shailesh Kumar Yadav on Monday was seen dragging a groom and a priest by their collar, thrashing the guests, while ordering the police to arrest them all for violating COVID-19 norms. The incident reportedly happened at around 11 pm at Manikya Court in Palace Compound, North Gate area in Agartala, Tripura.
In a video that went viral on social media, Yadav enters a hall where a wedding ceremony was underway. Yadav in a firm voice orders attendees to vacate the hall. “Chalo bahar niklo”, says the West DM Yadav and the state police officials accompanying him threaten the guests to leave or face consequences.
The DM then reaches that mandap (canopy) area where the wedding ceremony was being carried out. Yadav reprimands the groom and the bride’s family for violating the COVID-19 protocols. He then pulls the groom by his collar, thrashes the priest and orders police officials to arrest them all.
Yadav is so infuriated that he refuses to listen to any explanation given to him by the groom or the bride’s side of the family. When a lady requests the DM to see the documents in which they have been granted permission to conduct the wedding, the angry DM tells her that the permission was given to conduct the marriage but not beyond 10 pm. “You’ll are educated people…ok”, says the DM while tearing the documents the lady tries to produce before him.
Speaking to the media, Yadav said that all the people assembled at the wedding hall had violated prohibitory orders under Section 144 CrPC and would be prosecuted under Section 188 of the IPC.
Following the incident, Shailesh Kumar Yadav ordered the closure of two marriage halls in Agartala, for flouting COVID-10 norms, for 1 year and the suspension of the Officer-in-Charge of the West Agartala police station for being hand in gloves with the flouters.
“From tomorrow, Manikya Court and Gulab Bagan are banned. They will not be able to function for one year. I will also recommend the suspension of the Officer-in-Charge of the West Agartala police station for not acting on repeated complaints of people, and I, as a district magistrate, have to come here. He is hand in gloves with these people, and departmental proceedings should be taken against him,” Yadav said.
“Such an incident, people should take this as an example. Unfortunately, these are the educated, rich people, they are behaving like this. What about the people who are not educated. You can make out what is the level of responsibility in our population,” Yadav added.
There also videos available where the DM is seen order people dining at the feast to get off their seats midway through the dinner.
A person who appears to be the purohit was thrashed as well.
Meanwhile, the bride’s brother Subhrajit Deb has taken to Facebook to condemn the District Magistrate’s highhandedness. Deb informed that the wedding was being carried out after attaining all due permissions from the District Magistrate’s office itself.
Sharing pictures of the documents where permission to carry out the ceremony was granted by the Tripura West DM’s office itself, Deb confirmed that Yadav’s office had, in fact, granted them 4 vehicle passes so that they could move around smoothly (if required) during the ceremony. He writes that all these documents were signed by the DM himself.
Deb furthered that keeping the COVID-19 protocol in mind, they had gathered not more than 25-30 close relatives for the wedding.
Sharing all the documents, Deb questioned the Tripura West DM that if all the permissions were granted by him then why were they not allowed to conduct the ceremony?
“Is it illegal to follow hindu marriage act in my state? Should we not follow the auspicious time (logno)? If we are educated fools sir, then its also uneducated behavior using un parliamentary language infront of a crowd! Its also inhuman to arrest kids and women at 1 am and taking them to police station when kids of 9 yrs age are crying!”, wrote Deb.
“Sir, we EDUCATED FOOLS request you not to fool simple people like us and harass at midnight even after issuance of orders from office,” furthered the bride’s antagonized brother in his Facebook post.
Meanwhile, BJP MP Pratima Bhowmik apologised to everyone because of the incident. She said that she was deeply hurt by the incident as well. Pradyot Manikya has demanded an investigation into the matter.