Tripura DM Raids Marriage Functions: Necessary or Excessive?

Locals & netizens are in fury after DM Shailesh Yadav’s raid video went viral where he’s seen thrashing people.

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(This story was first published on 28 April and is being reposted in the backdrop of Tripura DM Shailesh Kumar Yadav offering to step down following the inquiry ordered against him.)

Video Editor: Mohd Irshad

The talk of the town in the frontier state of Tripura is the raid on two marriage parties, by Tripura West District Magistrate (DM) and collector Shailesh Kumar Yadav, for flouting COVID restrictions.

The attendees, the bridegroom, and even the priest had to face the DM's wrath. Videos have emerged showing how some people were abused and even physically thrashed.

The reason cited was a violation of the night curfew norm enforced to curb the COVID spread. Thirty-one people were detained including 19 women. But no detentions were made in the second raid.

The DM also ordered a yearlong ban on functions in the two halls, Manikya court and Gulab Bagan. Incidentally, Manikya court is owned by the royal Tripura scion and politician Pradyot Bikram Manikya DebBarma.

However, a lot has transpired since the raid, the DM has now apologised for his behaviour. ''If anyone got hurt due to my action, I am apologising for that. I have done this for the larger interest of society and the people. I have taken strict action to give a message to the people to maintain the government SOP," Yadav told a local television channel on Wednesday, 28 April.

This apology came after the video of the DM's raid where he can be seen mishandling and misbehaving with people went viral.

The locals objected to his behaviour and 5 MLAs from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) sent a written complaint against the DM to the chief secretary.

BJP MLA Asish Das and other party members are asking for the DM's resignation.

Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb has reportedly asked Chief Secretary Manoj Kumar to submit a report on the DM’s actions.

Asish Das,  in front of Gandhi Statue in Agartala demanding resignation of the District Magistrate.
Asish Das, in front of Gandhi Statue in Agartala demanding resignation of the District Magistrate.
(Photo Courtesy: Tanmoy Chakraborty)

A night curfew was imposed by the Agartala Municipal Corporation on 22 April.

The curfew timings are from 10 pm to 5 am. However, in a Facebook post the bride's brother has posted the permission letter and has cited that they had permission till 11:35 pm.

“The wedding permission has a standard format. In which the date, names of people getting married and the venue is mentioned. Unfortunately, no time is mentioned on it.”
Ramesh Chandra Yadav, Tripura Police

DM Shailesh Kumar Yadav also came down heavily on the police officers present on the spot and recommended suspension of officer-in-charge of West Agartala Police station.

“When I went by this place a while ago, I saw a police car stationed here. Still, all this is going on here, which means the police is involved with them. Some policemen are hand-in-glove with these people. They have allowed holding the ceremonies blatantly violating the government orders.”
Shailesh Kumar Yadav, DM, Tripura West

While speaking to the media on the spot of the raid, the DM had reiterated that by this action, he wants to send a message to the people that violation of COVID norms won’t be tolerated.

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