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Balodabazar arson: After transferring Collector and SP, Chhattisgarh govt suspends duo

The General Administration and Home Departments issued their suspension orders late on Thursday.
Last Updated : 14 June 2024, 07:00 IST

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Raipur: The Chhattisgarh government has suspended IAS officer K L Chauhan and IPS officer Sadanand Kumar, who were removed as Collector and SP of Balodabazar-Bhatapara respectively, in the wake of the arson in the district headquarters this week, officials said on Friday.

The General Administration and Home Departments issued their suspension orders late on Thursday.

As per the orders, Chauhan and Kumar allegedly did not take appropriate action following the damage of ‘jaitkham’ of Satnami community in the district.

Unidentified persons had vandalized ‘jaitkham’ or ‘victory pillar’, a sacred symbol worshipped by the Satnami community, near the holy Amar Gufa at Giroudpuri Dham in the Balodabazar-Bhatapara district on the intervening night of May 15-May 16.

Police subsequently arrested three persons in connection with the incident.

To protest against the alleged vandalisation of the religious structure, the community had called for a demonstration at Dussehra Maidan in Balodabazar on June 10 and a ‘gherao’ at the collector’s office.

During the protest, a mob set fire to a government office and more than 150 vehicles in Balodabazar city.

The next day (June 11), the state government transferred the then Balodabazar collector KL Chauhan and then Superintendent of Police (SP) Sadanand Kumar to the secretariat and police headquarters here without assigning any portfolios.

As per the suspension orders of the two officers, disciplinary action was pending against them after there were complaints that the district administration and police did not take appropriate action following damage to the religious structure of the Satnami community last month.

While Chauhan is a state cadre service officer who was awarded IAS in 2009, Kumar is a 2010-batch IPS officer. Both have been suspended with immediate effect, the orders said.

Police had on Tuesday said that seven FIRs had been registered in connection with the arson and they have formed 12 teams to track down those involved in the arson.

Chhattisgarh’s Food Minister Dayaldas Baghel and Revenue Minister Tank Ram Verma in a joint press conference had accused Congress leaders of instigating the crowd during the protest.

“Such a crime can never be committed by the Satnami community which is known for giving the message of peace and brotherhood... It was the result of a well-planned conspiracy by the Congress,” minister Baghel had alleged.

The minister said that over 200 people indulged in the arson had been arrested.

The Congress had called the allegations against its party leaders baseless and an attempt to cover up the failure and incompetence of the state government.

The influential Satnami community, founded by medieval-era social reformer Baba Guru Ghasidas, represents the largest Scheduled Castes group in Chhattisgarh.

Meanwhile, the state government on Thursday appointed a one-member judicial commission headed by Chhattisgarh High Court retired Justice CB Bajpai to probe into the incident, officials said.

The commission will submit its report to the state government within three months, they added.

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Published 14 June 2024, 07:00 IST

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