Staffers protest secretary’s thrashing, probe panel formed

Janakpurdham, January 14

Wearing black armbands, employees of all the ministries in Province 2 today resorted to agitation protesting yesterday’s thrashing of Bidhyanath Jha, a secretary at the Ministry of Forest, Tourism, Environment and Industry.

Minister of Financial Affairs and Planning Bijaya Yadav had allegedly thrashed Jha calling him in his own office.

Regular services in the provincial government were halted today due to the protest supported by all government staffers of the district.

“We won’t stop our protest until action is taken against the minister,” said Section Officer at the Ministry of Forest, Tourism, Environment and Industry Bechan Mahato.

“He could have taken departmental action against the secretary if he wasn’t satisfied with the latter’s work, but no one has the right, not even a so-called minister, to beat someone up,” he added.

Meanwhile, various employee organisations submitted a memorandum to Chief Minister Lalbabu Raut today seeking fair investigation into the case and action against the minister.

The organisations have given 24 hours’ ultimatum to act on their demands.

CM Raut, upon receiving the memorandum, informed that a committee had already been formed to investigate the incident and that action would be taken accordingly after the committee submits its report.

In the wake of the incident, the provincial government, yesterday had held an emergency meeting and formed a three-member probe committee led by Minister of Internal Affairs and Law Gyanendra Yadav.

The committee that has secretaries of the Office of the Chief Minister and law ministry as members started its work by meeting Minister Yadav and Secretary Jha today.

Probe committee coordinator Minister Yadav claimed that the truth behind the incident would come out in two to three days.

“I hereby urge all not to doubt our work. As there are also various evidences related to the incident, including the video footage and news sources, they will definitely help us bring out the truth,” he said.

Secretary Jha, who was admitted in Janakpur’s Care Medical Nursing Home last night and returned home following treatment today, accused the minister of assaulting him for not considering his recommendations while shortlisting organisations for the Micro-enterprise Development Programme.

“No sooner had I entered his office, he slapped me asking why I had not shortlisted the organisations he had recommended. Then he rained kicks on me,” said the secretary.

The minister, however, has argued that he only had a brief heated exchange of words after Jha showed indecent behaviour in front of him.

Shortly after the incident, police had taken Jha into custody. He was released later in the evening.