IAS officers meet CM, seek stern action against guilty

Coinciding with lawyers successfully organizing a dawn-to-dusk bandh in Sambalpur town demanding immediate removal of district collector Mrinalini Darswal, IAS officers in the state on Wednesday pressed for stern action against those involved in abusing Darswal and attacking her official residence two days ago.

Members of the IAS Officers’ Association, Odisha chapter, met chief minister Naveen Patnaik at the state secretariat and handed over a memorandum seeking protection of officers in the state. This followed a general body meeting of the association on Tuesday.

“We condemn the anti-socials involved in abusing the Sambalpur collector and attacking her official residence and also the attack on the district’s sub-registrar,” the association secretary, Madhusudan Padhi, told TOI. “Collectors represent the state in the districts and need to be protected at all costs,” he added.

The association, in its memorandum to the CM, refrained from using the word “lawyers” and demanded exemplary and immediate action against the “anti-socials” involved in attacking Darswal so that officers could work with dignity. Padhi said the association has also appreciated the “exemplary courage” shown by Darswal in protecting her sub-ordinate officers.

On Monday, some lawyers ransacked the Sambalpur collector’s official residence and allegedly abused her following a heated exchange between them over hike in land registration fee. The lawyers also allegedly attacked the office of the sub-registrar.

Darswal has alleged that lawyers illegally confined her inside a bus and tried to take her away. In her FIR to police, she has said some lawyers wanted to molest her, used filthy abuses on her and named 16 lawyers, including the district bar association president and secretary.

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