New Delhi, Aug 3 (IANS) Congress chief Sonia Gandhi has asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to ensure fair treatment for Uttar Pradesh IAS officer Durga Shakti Nagpal while the BJP also sought her suspension be revoked as support grew for the official who had taken on the "sand mafia".
A leader of the state's ruling Samajwadi Party (SP) indicated a way would be found out in the matter, even as an activist said she had moved the women's rights panel against a local SP leader who had allegedly used derogatory language against the official.
In her letter, Gandhi wrote: "We must ensure that the officer is not unfairly treated," suggesting it be ensured the officer was not unduly harassed by the state government.
"It is reported that Ms Durga Shakti Nagpal, a young IAS officer of UP has been hastily suspended for unsubstantiated reasons. There is widespread concern because the officer, in the course of her public duties, was seen to be standing up to vested interests engaging in illegal activity," she said in her letter of Friday which was accessed by IANS Saturday.
According to Gandhi, "this particular instance has highlighted the need to assess if there are adequate safeguards in place to protect executive functionaries working beyond the average call of duty to uphold the rule of law".
She also stressed that "the issues that have come to be profiled in Ms Nagpal's case also need focus".
BJP president Rajnath Singh Saturday took a dig at Manmohan Singh over Gandhi's letter, saying he should have acted on his own.
He also asked the Akhilesh Yadav government to revoke the suspension, saying the officer was doing her duty and was suspended under pressure from vested interests.
BJP Rajya Sabha member Tarun Vijay meanwhile sought security cover for Nagpal, saying it "feared that some political extremists might hurt her". He also urged Prime Minister Singh to intervene in this matter.
Samajwadi Party MP Shailendra Kumar said that party leaders are seized of the matter and some way out would be found. He said that Nagpal has met the chief secretary.
Taking umbrage to the claim of the Samajwadi Party leader Narinder Bhati that he got Nagpal suspended in a matter of 41 minutes and the words he has used for her, social activist Nutan Thakur that she has moved the National Commission for Women against him.
In her complaint, Thakur took exception to the use of words like "aurat"and "behudgi" by Bhati against Nagpal.
NCW chairperson Mamata Sharma has been urged to inquire into the entire matter and initiate legal action on the receipt of the inquiry report.
In the video footage, Bhati is shown claiming that he spoke to Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singhh Yadav at 10.30 a.m. and then to Akhilesh Yadav and within 41 minutes, got her suspended.
The suspension of Nagpal, a 28-year-old 2009-batch officer of the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) by the UP government July 29, has led to a public outcry.
Nagpal, who was suspended for allegedly taking on the politically well-connected sand-mining dons, backed by powerful real estate barons, has stirred the country and made the young bespectacled woman - aptly named after the Goddess Durga of the Hindu pantheon who is worshipped as a symbol of feminine power - a crusader who dared to tread where others feared.
As outrage mounted against the arbitrary manner the state government suspended the woman IAS officer, Akhilesh Yadav gave the entire episode a religious twist by saying that the sub-divisional magistrate of Noida was removed for razing a mosque wall and which could have led to inter-community tensions in the area and not for any action against the "sand mafia".
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