New Delhi: The IAS association on Sunday strongly condemned the behaviour of Collector of Surajpur, Chhattisgarh, Ranbir Sharma, whose video of slapping a man for alleged COVID-19 norm violation has surfaced on social media, saying it was against the basic tenets of the service and civility.
“Civil servants must have empathy and provide a healing touch to society at all times, more so in these difficult times,” it said.
Asked about the clip, an official said the man was stopped by the collector and a posse of police in Surajpur district, where a lockdown is in place to combat COVID-19.
In the video, the man can be seen pleading and showing a piece of paper and something on his mobile phone to the collector, who then takes the device and throws it to the ground.
The collector then slaps the man and police officers present at the spot hit him, apparently at the instance of the civil servant, according to the video that drew sharp criticism from bureaucrats on social media.
Sharma is an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer of the Chhattisgarh cadre (2012 batch).
“The IAS Association strongly condemns the behaviour of Collector Surajpur, Chhattisgarh. It is unacceptable & against the basic tenets of the service & civility. Civil servants must have empathy & provide a healing touch to society at all times, more so in these difficult times,” the IAS (central) association tweeted.
In a statement issued on Saturday, Collector Ranbir Sharma said, “Today a video is viral on social media in which I am shown slapping a man who was out during lockdown. I sincerely apologise for today’s behaviour. I never had any intention to disrespect or belittle the person in the video.”
“In this pandemic situation, district Surajpur along with the entire Chhattisgarh state has been facing irreparable loss of lives. We all employees of the state government are striving hard to tackle this problem,” he added.
Sharma said the man was riding a bike and was overspeeding. “The man also misbehaved with officials,” the collector said.
A police official said the man has been charged under the Epidemic Diseases Act for violating COVID-19 norms.