‘People should celebrate festivals but there is no need to be aggressive’
LUCKNOW: District magistrate of Bareilly Raghvendra Vikram Singh is in the eye of the storm for putting up a post on Facebook purportedly targeting right wing groups.
He has since deleted the post, saying he wanted an academic discussion on the issue. The government has said it is considering action against him. Singh started his career as a commissioned officer in the Indian Army and served in Jammu and Kashmir in his seven-year career as an officer. He later joined the UP Provincial Civil Services.
After being promoted to the IAS cadre, he has held the posts of municipal commissioner of Kanpur and vicechairman of the Varanasi Development Authority.
Singh was transferred to Bareilly as DM in 2017 shortly after the BJP came to power in UP. Singh spoke to Chandan Kumar on a range of issues, including the Kasganj violence and his Facebook post. Excerpts:
What made you write the post?
The post was written regarding the law and order situation that got disturbed in Bareilly during Kanwar Yatra last year. I hoped for an academic discussion on the issue but it took a different turn.
Was your post also related to Kasganj communal clashes?
Yes. The way the incident in Kasganj started was similar to the skirmish in Bareilly.
Do you think the group which took out Tiranga Yatra in Kasganj should have sought permission?
Everyone should celebrate national festivals but should abstain from being aggressive unnecessarily. People should work in tandem with administration to avoid any conflict.
Do you believe that slogans against Pakistan in certain areas provoke clashes?
To an extent, yes. What is the need to shout such slogans? Even I will stop someone shouting slogans outside my residence without any reason. Muslims are also our brothers. We share the same DNA.
BJP leaders are calling your post politically motivated.
My only motive was to discuss such issues and the impact they have on our system.
What kind of impact do you think such incidents have?
These incidents not only disturb peace of an area but also hinder development. All officers are deployed to maintain law and order and development takes a back seat.
Were you forced to delete the post?
No. I did so to end the conflict.