With the public outcry over the suspension of Sub-Divisional Magistrate (Sadar), Gautam Buddh Nagar district Durga Shakti Nagpal refusing to die down and the Samajwadi Party government apparently rattled by the accusations, the media has now been accused of going ‘overboard’ over a routine administrative measure.
An official function at the Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav’s 5 Mall Avenue residence on Tuesday was turned into a platform for media-bashing with Minister for Medical Health and Family Welfare Ahmed Hasan offering the opinion that the media was in awe of Durga Nagpal (“media par Durga Nagpal ka phobia chhaya hua hai .” )
Hitting out at the suspended IAS officer and describing her as a “naasamajh SDM (ignorant SDM)”, the Health Minister asked: “Durga Nagpal ko kya kya banaoge ?, SDM ko maafi maangni chahiye thhee [why this hero worship of Durga Nagpal? The SDM should have apologised].”
The Health Minister, known to be fiercely loyal to Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh and his son, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, accused the suspended bureaucrat of destroying the credibility of the IAS cadre.
“Go and see what the SDM has done; the Centre should have ordered a probe as the site is just four kilometres away,” the Health Minister said, adding that the photograph of the mosque had not been published (in newspapers).
Mr. Hasan was speaking at a function to mark the inauguration of Kamdhenu Dairy and Poultry Development Schemes by the Chief Minister.
The Health Minister’s lengthy diatribe against the media threatened to overshadow the ambitious programme, which finds mention in the Chief Minister’s development agenda.
The Health Minister also lampooned the babus, seeking to remind those of the previous regime about how Cabinet Secretary (Shashank Shekhar Singh) had reduced the IAS Association to the status of a mere onlooker.
“U.P. has an honest Chief Minister who is determined to put the State on the path of progress,” Mr. Hasan said.
As an afterthought, however, Mr. Hasan added that “ninety-five per cent of media personnel are my friends, only five per cent are black sheep.”
Talking to reporters after the function, the Chief Minister evaded a query on Mr. Hasan’s criticism of the media but said: “ Jo saathi naaraz hain unko hamare taraf se rasgullaen pahuncha dena ” (send rasgollas from my side to those friends who are angry).
Mr. Akhilesh Yadav reiterated that action had already been taken against the officer and a charge sheet issued. A decision on further action and inquiry would be taken in time.
“I want the truth to come out,” the Chief Minister said. “Should the government not be allowed to work and no action taken against officials who want to vitiate the atmosphere?”
Shortly after the function, Urban Development Minister Mohammad Azam Khan also cautioned the media against the ‘machinations of the bureaucracy.’
The opening sentence of “Why this hero worship of Nagpal, asks U.P. Health Minister” (August 7, 2013) referred to Durga Shakti Nagpal as Noida Sub-Divisional Magistrate. Actually, she was the Sub-Divisional Magistrate (Sadar), Gautam Buddh Nagar district.