A government official in Uttar Pradesh’s Bareilly district has been removed from his post for allegedly forcing a man to “crouch like a rooster” in his office as punishment, The Indian Express reported on Saturday.
Bareilly District Magistrate Shivakant Dwivedi removed Udit Pawar from his post as the sub-divisional magistrate of Meerganj after a video of the incident was shared on social media.
“I had asked a senior officer to check the veracity of the video and he found the SDM guilty,” said Dwivedi. “Prima facie, the SDM has not behaved properly in this connection and hence disciplinary action was taken against him.”
The man seen being punished in the video was Pappu Lodhi, a resident of the Madanpur village. He, along with a few other villagers, had reportedly gone to meet Pawar to complain about some individuals having forcibly taken possession of a piece of land next to a temple.
“The land is shown in government records as a graveyard but some influential persons of the village have taken forcible possession of the place,” said Lodhi. “I had gone to the SDM office for the third time in this connection. I told the officer that I had already come to his office twice earlier with the request of getting the encroached land freed but no action has been taken yet.”
Lodhi said that he handed over a letter to Pawar, who tore it and forced him to crouch like a rooster, according to The Indian Express.
Pawar, on his part, denied the allegations and said that he noticed a man sitting in that position when he entered his office on Friday morning. Visuals of the incident, however, showed the official sitting in his chair as Lodhi remained crouched in front of him.
“I asked the others accompanying him to make him stand on his feet,” said Pawar. “One among them shot a video at that moment and left. I listened to their complaint and also asked the accountant to settle the matter. The allegation that I punished that man is not true.”