The district magistrate of West Tripura on Tuesday busted two marriage venues, where people had gathered in large numbers and the events went on beyond the stipulated time amid rising cases of coronavirus in the state. IAS officer Sailesh Kumar Yadav also lashed out against police officials of the region for their inaction over the blatant defiance of the COVID-19 norms. At least 31 people were detained from one of the venues.
A video of Yadav has gone viral on social media, where he can be seen hitting out at those attending the wedding and the officials concerned. “Manikya Court and Golap Bagan are banned and they will not be able to operate for the next one year. All the people who have assembled here have violated the order under section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Court and will be prosecuted under section 188 of the Indian Penal Code. They will all be arrested right now.”
“I will also recommend the government to suspend the OC of the West Tripura police station for not acting upon repeated complaints of the people. And I, as a district magistrate, had to come here. It's very shameful on the part of the police that they have behaved like this,” an infuriated Yadav could be heard saying.
Addressing the police officials, he said, “You too shall go. You all are hand in glove with these people. You have forgotten your police training.”
The district magistrate’s entry and what followed at the ceremony hall was no less than a film scene, where the officer tore off the permission papers shown to him. He could also been seen slapping the priest.
“Everybody is a learned person here — doctors, engineers. They do not want to abide by the laid norms. They want to act as if they are immune to the rules and untouched by COVID-19. Unfortunately COVID is going to win. We have been making public announcement about the night curfew every ten minutes and the marriage hall is aware of that. This is absolutely unacceptable. This is too selfish of these people. Action will be taken. From tomorrow onward, I will ask police to raid all marriage halls after 10 pm" Yadav said.
The lagna (auspicious time) for the marriage of Abhi and Kabita was at 11.30 pm on the 26th of April. Accordingly, the groom's family, which hails from Bangalore, and the bride’s family were gathered at the Manikya court wedding venue, said to be the property of the royal family.
“We had the needful permission for the marriage, where the DM had signed. Besides, there were limited invitees for the marriage and all had their masks on. The DM possibly arrived at 11.15 pm and then you have seen what happened in the video. Around 32 of us were taken to the police station where we were kept till 3 am. At the wee hours we had to arrange for the transportation to return,” said Subrojyoti Deb, elder brother of the bride.
On being asked whether the family is planning to go against the DM's action Deb said, “My father is a retired government doctor and a heart patient, my mother lives on insulin. We all are extremely traumatised and are confused. We somehow managed to complete the marriage ceremony, but it was all against the formal rituals.” Both the bride and groom are engineers working in Bangalore and were in Tripura for the marriage. “The lagna of the marriages today is 11 pm. What shall they do?” asked Deb.
Reacting to the incident Pratima Bhoumik, Member of Parliament from Tripura West said, “We should abide to all the rules laid by the government and the administration too is doing its part. However yesterday's incident is unprecedented.”
The Tripura government had imposed a night curfew, between 10 pm to 5 am, starting April 22 till April 30. It had enforced several measures amid the fresh wave of COVID-19. Tripura Chief Secretary Manoj Kumar had issued a memorandum to put in force the measures. They included a penalty of Rs 1,000 for violation of social distancing norms in transports, business and public places. Tripura has so far reported 34,738 cases, out of which 33,514 have recovered, and there have been 394 recorded deaths.