Madhya Pradesh CM shunts Collector who snapped over question posed by protesting truck driver

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Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Mohan Yadav.
| Photo Credit: ANI

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Mohan Yadav on Wednesday ordered the transfer of Shajapur District Collector Kishore Kanyal a day after a purported video appeared on the internet showing him allegedly involved in an argument with a representative of protesting truck drivers.

As per a notification issued by the General Administration Department (GAD), Narsinghpur Collector Raju Bafna has been posted to Shajapur while Mr. Kanyal has been made a deputy secretary with the State Administration. According to an official at the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO), Mr. Yadav took the action due to the “language” used by Mr. Kanyal and said that his government “will not tolerate such language”.

In the viral video, Mr. Kanyal, at a meeting with truck drivers in his district, is heard asking them to not take law and order in their hands when a driver asks him to talk politely.

“What are you saying? Think a little. What will you do? What is your aukaat [status]?” Mr. Kanyal says in an angry voice. “This is the thing, sir. This is the fight that we have no aukaat,” the driver responds.

As the discussion heated up, the driver is seen folding his hands and apologising to Mr. Kanyal. “You yourself said what is our aukaat,” he says, asking fellow drivers to speak up even as a police officer escorts him out of the room.

“You should apologise,” the IAS officer tells him while further asking the drivers to raise their demands in a “democratic manner”.

The District Administration, however, later on Tuesday issued a video with Mr. Kanyal clarifying that he became angry as the man kept saying that he can “go to any level and disturb the law and order” if the issue is not resolved by January 3.

“Our only motive [with the meeting] was that they have a clarity that nobody will disturb the law and order and the normal public does not face any problems,” he said.

Following the action against Mr. Kanyal, the Chief Minister said that the kind of words used by the official during the meeting was not appropriate.

“No matter how big an official is, they should respect the work as well as the emotions of the poor. So, out of humanity, such a language is not tolerated in our government. I myself am a son of a labourer,” he said, adding that if officials use such language in future, they should not be in the field.

“I hope the new official will take care of their language and behaviour. I was extremely pained by such language and I will never forgive these things,” Mr. Yadav added.

Lakhs of commercial drivers went on strike on January 1 in a protest against the the new provisions, which call for stringent jail and fine regulations in hit-and-run cases under the newly enacted Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita. They have, however, begun to return to work after Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla held talks with representatives of drivers unions on January 2 and assured them that any decision on this provision will be taken only after consultation with the All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC).

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