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Man Complains About Closed Panchayat Office, DM Threatens to Slap Him, Sends Him to Jail

Image for representation.

Khargone (MP): Bureaucratic high-handedness came to the fore in Madhya Pradesh on Friday when a District Magistrate allegedly not only threatened to slap a man but also sent him to jail after he dared to question the officer about the fate of the panchayat office which was lying defunct for past two years.

The incident took place in front of cameras when DM Ashok Kumar Verma was speaking to reporters at a function on making the village Open Defecation Free (ODF) in Sanavad area in Madhya Pradesh’s Khargone district.

Local resident Gambhir Singh Rajput, who was standing nearby, intervened and wanted to know about the success of the programme as the panchayat office in the area was lying defunct. “Do saal se panchayat nahin khulee, aapke aane se khulee, aisa kaise?” (The panchayat office was closed for two years and only opened before your visit, how is it possible?)

This infuriated the collector who overlooked presence of media and said, “Do jhapad dunga to theek ho jaoge (I will slap you and you will be fixed).” The matter didn’t end here. To add insult to injury, the man and his friend were sent to jail for breach of peace. Sanawad TI Vinod Soni said that the two were accused of disrupting proceedings at the function.

Later, a wave of anger swept the state as soon as the video went viral with people from various quarters criticising the high-handedness of the DM.

Flaying the collector’s attitude, Congress spokesperson Pankaj Chaturvedi asked the state government to identify such officers and relieve them from duty. “But these officers should not be removed and rewarded with plum posts later on,” Chaturvedi added.

BJP Spokesperson Rajnish Agrawal too echoed similar sentiments saying that such behaviour does not comply with the code of conduct of the IAS officers.

“The poor man only questioned about the defunct panchayat of his village. Was this a crime?” Congress Madhya Pradesh state head Arun Yadav questioned reporters.

An SDM in Barwani recently had sent an old man to jail after the latter asked the officer about the status of his complaint.