The suspension of Gautam Buddh Nagar sub-divisional magistrate Durga Shakti Nagpal has been taken up by the Uttar Pradesh IAS association and the association's representatives met the state chief secretary on Monday, requesting revokation of Nagpal's suspension. The IAS officers' association says that the officer had been victimised.
Durga Nagpal was suspended on Sunday. The officer had ordered the seizure of 24 lorries engaged in illegal quarrying in the past few days and arrested 15. She had also seized nearly 300 trolleys of sand being illegally mined from the Yamuna river bed.
On Saturday, Durga Nagpal had ordered the demolition of a mosque which was being illegally built on government land.
This seems to have triggered her suspension as the Samajwadi Party is a self-proclaimed champion of minorities.
However, the Uttar Pradesh government claimed irregularities in her work led to Nagpal's suspension. "The administration had to take this decision to prevent disputes and communal tension in the area. When we take a strong decision, the media takes a different angle," said Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav.
Countering the chief minister's justification, the IAS officers' association says there was no communal tension and as per rules no report was sought on the situation on the ground before the official was removed. The officers said that Durga Nagpal was removed at the instance of a local Samajwadi Party leader Narendra Bhatti, who had allegedly complained to the leadership about the crackdown on the mining mafia hurting political interests.
The Bahujan Samaj Party and the BJP had criticised the suspension.
"Durga Shakti Nagpal was suspended because she took action against the mafia. Instead of appreciating her work, the government suspended her. This government is giving protection to the mafia," alleged BSP leader Satish Chandra Mishra.
"This sends a message that the state government will act against officers who work against the mafia. It shows the government works under the mafia's pressure. This is very dangerous and unfortunate," said Bharatiya Janata Party leader Kalraj Mishra.
"This is plain Goonda Raj (rule of the jungle). This government shields the mafia and punishes officers trying to act against the mafia," said BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar.
Durga Shakti Nagpal is from Punjab. She is a 2009 batch officer. Durga is married to an IAS officer.