West Tripura District Magistrate and Collector Shailesh Kumar Yadav, who led the raids in the two marriage halls in Agartala, on Tuesday apologised for disrupting the marriage ceremony. "If anyone got hurt due to my action, I am apologising for that. I have done this for the larger interest of society and the people. I have taken the strict action to give a message to the people to maintain the government SOP," Yadav told local television on Tuesday night.
As many as 31 people, including 19 women, were detained from a marriage party in Tripura for violating the night curfew and other Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) enforced to curb the Covid spread.
However, in another raid at a marriage party in the city, no detentions were made.
Officials said that Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb has asked the Chief Secretary Manoj Kumar to submit a report about the DM's actions in dealing with the holding of the marriage ceremonies defying the night curfew and the SOPs.
Tripura Chief Secretary earlier in an order last week imposed a night curfew in the Agartala Municipal Corporation area from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. from April 22 onwards.
The order said that in closed spaces, a maximum of 50 per cent of the seating or hall capacity should be allowed for any social, cultural, entertainment or political gathering with a ceiling of 100 persons while in open spaces, higher numbers may be allowed based on the size of the ground with a ceiling of 200 persons.
District and police officials said that after getting the information of the violation of the night curfew regulations and SOPs, the West Tripura District Magistrate and Collector Shailesh Kumar Yadav raided two marriage halls in the city where a large number of people comprising men, women and children attended the marriage parties late on Monday night.
On the directions of the DM, police detained 31 people including 19 women for violating the government orders while many others escaped when the police resorted to a mild lathicharge.
However, all 31 people were subsequently released from the West Agartala police station.
Yadav told the media that a section of policemen who were hand-in-glove with the marriage parties allowed holding the ceremonies blatantly violating the government orders.
"All these people are highly educated but they did not follow the norms amidst the alarming rise in coronavirus cases. These same people on the other hand will accuse the government of doing nothing. I also suggest suspending the officer-in-charge of the West Agartala police station," the IAS officer stated.
A video of the DM's raids in the marriage halls went viral on social media.
Meanwhile, many people including two ruling Bharatiya Janata Party MLAs accused the DM of high handedness while enforcing the government orders.
"The DM physically harassed and abused the priests at the marriage ceremony, bridegroom and others," BJP legislator Sushant Chowdhury said on his social media posts.