The Rajasthan government has suspended three officials in Alwar following a backlash over the demolition of two temples as part of an anti-encroachment drive to widen a road in Rajgarh.
Rajgarh SDM Keshav Kumar Meena, Rajgarh Nagar Parishad chairman and BJP leader Satish Duharia, and Nagar Parishad executive officer Banwari Lal Meena have been suspended through three orders, which were issued on Monday.
While Keshav Kumar, a Rajasthan Administrative Service (RAS) officer, was suspended by the Department of Personnel, the suspension orders of the other two were issued by the Local Self Government (LSG) Department.
As per the LSG order, a preliminary inquiry was done in the matter of removal of various structures in the Rajgarh municipality area on April 17.
“It was found that municipality chairman Satish Duharia behaved against the law. There was indifference and negligence over the consequences of losses to the common man over removal of construction work. Hence, he is clearly found guilty of dereliction over carrying out his duties,” the order read.
“It has been decided to conduct a judicial inquiry against Duharia and if he stays on as the Chairman of Rajgarh Nagar Palika, there is a possibility of the investigation being influenced,” the order said, adding that Duharia has been suspended from the post of chairman and as a member of the municipality “with immediate effect”.
Similarly, according to another order of the department, Banwari Lal Meena, the executive officer of the municipality, has also been suspended from the post after being found guilty of dereliction of duty and unlawful conduct. The order said that he did not study or examine the records thoroughly before proceeding with the anti-encroachment drive.
While Rajasthan BJP president Satish Poonia had accused the Congress of being behind the demolition, state Congress chief Govind Singh Dotasra had claimed that it was the decision of the city’s municipality headed by the saffron party.
Reacting to the suspension order, BJP state president Satish Poonia said, “Truth is not defeated. To hide the mistakes of the government and its officers, the Congress, which once accused the BJP board in Rajgarh, has finally taken action against the guilty officers. People know on whose behest the temples were demolished and whose immoral thinking was implemented by the officials.”
Deputy Leader of Opposition Rajendra Rathore said that the government’s action against the SDM proves that it was the state government itself which is guilty of demolishing the temples.
Earlier, Alwar district collector Nakate Shivprasad Madan had said that the proposal for the anti-encroachment drive was unanimously passed by the Nagar Palika board in a sadharan sabha led by its chairman Satish Duharia last year.
He had said that the notices were issued to the persons, whose structures were part of the encroachment, on April 6 this year. Subsequently, after following the due process, the anti-encroachment drive took place on April 17 and 18. “No legal structure was demolished in the drive. There were no protests, and no law and order situation then,” he had said.