Raipur: The Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel on Sunday (May 23, 2021) instructed to remove collector of Surajpur district Ranbir Sharma from his post after a video of him hitting a man for breaking COVID-19 norms went viral on social media platforms.

A coronavirus-induced lockdown is in place in the district, some 340 kilometres from Raipur. A man, identified as Aman Mittal (23), was stopped by the collector and a posse of police, an official said.

In the video, the man can be seen showing a piece of paper and something on his mobile phone to the collector who takes the device and throws it to the ground.

The senior official is then seen slapping the man and encouraging two policemen who rush to the spot and start hitting the man with sticks.

When the viral video caught the attention of the Chhattisgarh Chief Minister, he took it to Twitter to address the public and instructed the officials to remove the collector from the post. Meanwhile, IAS Gaurav Kumar Singh has been appointed as the new District Magistrate.

Watch the viral video here:

In a statement issued on Saturday, Collector Ranbir Sharma said, “Today a video is viral on social media in which I am shown slapping a man who was out during lockdown. I sincerely apologize for today’s behavior. I never had any intention to disrespect or belittle the person in the video.”

“In this pandemic situation, district Surajpur along with the entire Chhattisgarh state has been facing an irreparable loss of lives. We all employees of the state government are striving hard to tackle this problem,” he further said in his statement.

Sharma said he had recovered from coronavirus while his mother continued to battle the infection, and asked people to follow COVID-19 norms in place strictly so that the COVID-19 outbreak can be contained.

Sharma also added that the man in the video, contrary to some reports, was not minor but a 23-year-old

“He was riding a bike and was overspeeding. The man also misbehaved with officials”, the collector said.

A police official said the man has been charged under the Epidemic Diseases Act for violating COVID-19 norms.

(With agency inputs)

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