Development officers from all over the district staged a protest outside the DC’s office on Friday, accusing an elected representative of verbally and physically abusing a panchayat development officer (PDO).
Some of the protesters even tried to drink poison, expressing dissatisfaction against the government’s and local authorities’ failure to take action against similar attacks.
Manjunath, APMC director and former president of the GP, who attended a meeting of the Kurudumale Gram Panchayat in Mulbagal taluk, also destroyed records in the office, other than harassing Y R Bhavani, the PDO, said the protesting panchayat and rural development officers.
Manjunath apparently suggested during the meeting that projects already completed should be added to the list under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, 2013-14. The Panchayat members, however, rejected the idea.
Irked by the reaction, Manjunath urged Bhavani to make a note of the projects in the minutes book.
The protesters added that when Bhavani stood by the decision of the Panchayat members, Manjunath abused her and even destroyed papers.
“A complaint was registered immediately after the meeting, at 2.30 pm, at the Mulbagal police station. The chief executive officer of the Zilla Panchayat had also instructed the police to arrest the director, but the police have not done so,” complained the protesters.
The Deputy Commissioner D S Vishwanath, who received the memorandum, spoke harshly, said the protesters, also arguing with H R Bhagavandas, the Additional Superintendent of Police. Upset by the police officer’s warning not to protest outside the DC’s office, the protesters shifted to the office premises of the Zilla Panchayat chief executive officer and continued their stir.
Alleging that the government and local administration have failed to take any measures to prevent the increasing number of attacks on officers or bringing the assaulters to task, some of the protesters attempted to drink poison as an extreme measure of protest. They also threatened to lay siege to the police station if the attacker of the PDO is not brought to book by November 15.
V Geetha and Mamatha Reddy, leaders of women’s forums, arrived at the scene and pacified the protesters, convincing them that no end would be reached by committing suicide.
Zilla Panchayat chief executive officer S M Zulfikarullah, who received the memorandum, promised to take action against Manjunath.