| Aam Aadmi Party member Ram Jatan Choudhary registers his protest on Thursday. Picture by Jai Prakash |
An Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) activist on Thursday accused officers at the district magistrate (DM)’s office of enquiring about his caste, triggering a ruckus at the janata durbar presided over by the additional DM.
Arvind Kumar Tiwary, the ADM, was holding the durbar in the absence of his superior N. Saravana Kumar, when Ram Jatan Choudhary arrived at the collectorate. Officers were then busy assuring complainants of speedy resolution of their grievances.
Choudhary entered the DM’s room in a huff and loudly called out to Shrutidev Narayan, assistant director, social security, who was seated behind the ADM, to come near him. Narayan looked puzzled, as no other complainant had made such a request.
“What kind of office is this? Your officers asked me my surname. When I was not ready to oblige, they asked it twice more. When I kept silent, the official concerned asked me: ‘Aap kaun jati ke hain (Which caste do you belong to)?’ Is this the way you treat complainants here? Okay, that means if I belong to a particular caste, then I would get preference over other complainants? I couldn’t even think in my wildest imagination that I would be asked a question like this in a janata durbar and that too of the DM,” said an agitated Choudhary, pointing at all the officers present in the room.
Crying for justice, Choudhary asked the ADM to take prompt action against the officer concerned.
On seeing that Choudhary had grabbed the attention of mediapersons present at the durbar, the ADM assured him that he would look into the matter and take action against the officer concerned.
“How can it happen in the janata durbar? If an officer asks you about your caste, it’s wrong. We would take action against the officer concerned. You don’t worry. The chief minister does not like officers to differentiate people on the basis of caste and creed. We would surely look into your matter,” the ADM told Choudhary.
Social security assistant director Narayan took away Choudhary to prevent problems for the ADM in continuing the durbar.
On being asked, Choudhary told The Telegraph: “I don’t have much faith in the ADM’s assurance. Bureaucrats and politicians tend to dishonour promises.”
On the purpose of his visit, the AAP activist said: “I came to request the new DM to raise the pension money for widows and the elderly from their respective allowances of Rs 300 and Rs 200.”
DM N. Shravan Kumar could not be contacted despite several attempts.