Raids at wedding halls: West Tripura DM moved out of Agartala, HC reconstitutes probe panel

The Tripura High Court Wednesday said it was imperative to shift the DM out of Agartala to enable an impartial inquiry in the case.

West Tripura District Magistrate Shailesh Kumar Yadav, who forcefully stopped two wedding ceremonies being held in violation of the night curfew in place to check the spread of Covid-19, has been transferred to Belonia in south Tripura district adjoining Bangladesh.

The Tripura High Court Wednesday said it was imperative to shift the DM out of Agartala to enable an impartial inquiry in the case.

Yadav is accused of gross misconduct during the raids on April 26, allegedly slapping a priest, shoving one of the grooms and arresting everyone present at the weddings.

Following the incident, the DM had issued a public apology, only to say a day later that he stood by his actions.

The video of the incident went viral on social media, triggering a backlash from celebrities like singer Sonu Nigam, BJP’s Chandigarh chapter, Vedic Brahman Samaj, and other bodies who called for Yadav’s suspension.

While hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) and two writ petitions filed by the father of the girl whose wedding was disrupted on the night and the priest, allegedly manhandled by the DM, a Division Bench of the Tripura High Court comprising Chief Justice Akil Kureshi and Justice SG Chattopadhyay reconstituted the enquiry committee set up by the government to probe the issue and added retired district judge Subhash Sikdar in it.

The court ordered the administration to provide all necessary assistance to the committee to conduct a detailed inquiry into the incident and suggest measures to be taken thereafter.

Earlier, the state government had told the court that DM Yadav was sent on 12-day leave with permission to leave the station. The official was recently relieved of his charge after a request from him for the same amidst severe protest. However, he was in charge of other portfolios like Mission Director of Agartala Smart City Project and other authorities.

The court, however, today said that the government’s step was “only a stopgap arrangement” and that it did not satisfy the court’s previous request to shift the DM out of Agartala for an impartial inquiry by the probe panel.

To this, Advocate General SS Dey informed the High Court that DM Yadav has been immediately transferred to Belonia. The court accepted the measure taken and instructed that any findings of the probe panel may not be divulged elsewhere or published without first placing it in the court and without leave of the court.

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