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Dalit IAS officer accuses MP CM, bureaucrats of ‘hounding’ him

Ramesh Thete

Bhopal : A Dalit IAS officer, Ramesh Thete, today alleged Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and his top officers were “hounding” him and trying to create a situation akin to that which forced Rohith Vemula to end his life, and claimed he was declared ‘untouchable’ and not given work.

“Chouhan and his top officers are creating a situation akin to what prompted (Hyderabad Central University research scholar) Rohith Vemula to commit suicide. I appeal to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to order a CBI probe into what Chouhan, along with top bureaucrats, has done (in MP),” he told reporters.

“I wrote a letter to the CM complaining that Additional Chief Secretary (of Water Resources Department) R S Julania, who has been given additional charge of Panchayat and Rural Development, has divested me of power and declared me ‘untouchable’,” said Thete, who is the department secretary.

“Instead of taking note of my complaint, the Chief Minister issued a show-cause notice to me,” he said.

“If an independent agency like CBI carries out an inquiry into the works done by Julania, he will be behind the bars… Two dams built in Panna district with an investment of Rs 70 crore have collapsed recently and couldn’t even withstand the first rainfall,” he alleged.

Thete alleged the Chief Minister was “shielding” the top bureaucrat and he (Chouhan) might be involved in it. “Public money is being looted and the Chief Minister is protecting officers like Julania and indulging in it,” he alleged.

He also alleged WRD engineer-in-chief M G Choubey has been given post-retirement extension for a fifth time to carry out construction of the dams in Panna.

“The work was given to Choubey after sidelining the officers of Dalit and tribal communities,” he added.

“Dalit officer like me, who is an Ambedkarwadi and talks about equality, justice and brotherhood, is being hounded, served show-cause notice… By creating such a situation, they want me to commit suicide like Rohith Vermula as I am challenging them,” he claimed.

“That’s why they have made bandobast to remove me from their way and some unfortunate incident might happen with me… If anything happens to me then you all will find the names of persons responsible for it in an envelope,” he said.

Attempts to contact Julania failed. His office said that he was in Canada right now.

Thete demanded that the show-cause notice served on him be withdrawn immediately, Julania be removed from his current post and booked under the SC & ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

Chief Secretary Antony De’Sa will meet Chouhan later in the day on the issue involving the Dalit officer, the Chief Minister’s principal secretary S K Mishra said.

Asked to comment on the issue, Mishra said he would get back to the media after the meeting was over.

Earlier, Thete had taken part in a dharna organised by Dalit Adivasi Forum on January 11 here to protest alleged discrimination against Dalit and tribal bureaucrats after the state government gave its nod to Lokayukta to prosecute him in an alleged case of illegal disposal of land in Ujjain during his tenure as additional commissioner around two years ago.

Then, he had said that the state government was prompt in taking action against Dalit officers while ignoring similar cases of misconduct involving those from upper castes.

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