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Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Kerala’s IAS officer relocated after protests by Muslim organisations

Various Muslim organisations who had been threatening the Kerala’s CPM led LDF government with their massive street protests have succeeded in ousting the Alappuzha district collector Mr. Sreeram Venkitaraman from his official post. He was freshly appointed as the General Manager of Kerala Civil Supplies Corporation, an insignificant post which has never been handled by an IAS officer.

Mr.Sreeram was a co-accused in a drunk driving accident that happened in August, 2019 at M.G.Road of Thiruvananthapuram which took the life of a journalist K.M. Basheer who worked for Siraj, a newspaper owned by the All India Sunni Jamiyathul Ulama. Police charged the accused under culpable homicide and released him under bail immediately. The case is yet to reach the court for trial.

A Hindu officer who was accused in killing of a Muslim, though in an unplanned road rage accident was opportunely taken up by various Muslim organisations to show their collective strength for political gains. So Mr. Sreeram was not given any prominent appointment post the incident.

Ever since Mr. Sreeram was appointed as district collector of Alappuzha about 11 days ago, discontent had restarted brewing among the Muslim community irrespective of political lines. Street protests participated by thousands of Muslims one after another under various banners across the state demanded the immediate ouster of Mr. Sreeram from the post of district collector who is also the executive magistrate of the district. An accused holding the powers of the executive magistrate ridicules the sentiments of the Muslim community, alleged the protestors.

(Video archived here)

It is noteworthy that Venkitaraman is the same IAS officer who in 2017 had been lauded for taking tough action against illegal encroachment in Munnar forest areas, such as the large crosses planted by radical Christian outfits. Bowing to pressure from Christian groups, CM Pinarayi Vijayan had criticized the IAS officer back then and CPM had branded him an ‘RSS agent’ saying he should be sent to a mental asylum.

Political critics view that the LDF government is becoming mere puppetry in the hands of such radical religious outfits. With the collective bargaining of these fanatic outfits even started influencing the posting of highest officers in the civil services, other communities are quite concerned whether religious tag alone will determine the state’s future course.

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