The Chhattisgarh government has transferred the police chief of Sukma district a month after he was appointed, reportedly because he opposed a minister’s directive to send a subordinate to another police station. The Congress government found the official’s response to the minister “unacceptable”, The New Indian Express reported.

An Indian Police Service officer of the 2013 batch, Jitendra Shukla was appointed the superintendent of police of the Sukma district in February. Soon after his appointment, five-time Congress MLA and Cabinet minister Kawasi Lakhma asked him to transfer Surendra Pambhoi, who was in charge of the Phulbagdi police station, to another part of the district.

Shukla wrote back to Lakhma, saying that “the law and order and security situation in a district is the responsibility of the superintendent of police, and he does this through the thana prabharis (police station in-charges) under him, and it is his exclusive right to transfer them”, The Indian Express reported.

“It is not correct to put external pressure on this duty of the Superintendent of Police, and therefore it is not possible to transfer Surendra Pambhoi,” Shukla wrote.

Shukla was himself transferred to the police headquarters in Raipur on Sunday.

Congress defends, BJP attacks government

The Congress said that Kawasi Lakhma knows the “problems of the area better”. On receiving his request, Shukla should have either acted on it, or responded in an appropriate manner, but he wrote an “offensive” and “condemnable” letter, the Congress said. The state government cited disciplinary grounds to transfer Shukla.

Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel said Shukla had no right to write a letter to the minister.

Leader of the Opposition Dharam Kaushik said on Tuesday: “The chief minister had said that the transfers are not punishment and he claimed that the Bharatiya Janata Party’s protests showed mental bankruptcy. But Baghel has admitted that the Sukma SP was transferred for writing the letter to the minister.”

“It seems the Congress government wants to make the IAS and IPS officers to work as their puppets,” the BJP leader said. “The decision will have a detrimental impact on the morale of the officer.”

In a Facebook post on Sunday, Shukla wrote: “Unwanted and unexpected...But time has come to say...Bye Bye Bastar and gud bye to Sukma.”