New Delhi: A CPI(M) lawmaker from Kerala is facing criticism for saying a woman sub-collector “does not have brains” when she questioned an unauthorised construction at Munnar.
In a video, Devikulam MLA S. Rajendran was heard saying, “She does not have brains. If you have three letters, ‘I-A-S’, don’t think you know everything. People who study only to become a collector will have only so much brain.” His words were directed towards Devikulam sub-collector Dr Renu Raj.
According to Hindustan Times, Raj stopped the construction of a panchayat shopping complex that did not have proper permission. The MLA and his followers reportedly blocked a team of revenue officials that attempted to serve a notice to the unauthorised construction. Raj then went to the spot.
Rajendran denied he behaved inappropriately and claimed he his voice only after the sub-collector “behaved rudely” with him. He will file a complaint with the assembly speaker, he said.
The bureaucrat also denied inappropriate behaviour. The memo to stop the construction was served according to the Kerala high court’s directive, she said. Raj said she will inform the court about the latest construction.
In the past, veteran CPI(M) leader V.S. Achuthanandan has criticised Rajendran, calling him a part of Munnar’s “land mafia“.
After the video went viral, the CPI(M) said it would seek an explanation from Rajendran. The Congress, the main opposition party, has sought action against the MLA.
The CPI, which is part of the ruling coalition, said the MLA was “very rude” to the officer. “A law-maker like him should have used his words properly,” CPI Idukki secretary Shivaraman told Hindustan Times.
PCC president Mullapally Ramachandran said the CPI(M) recently organised a “women wall” to uphold liberty and renaissance values. “How can the party explain such behavior towards an upright woman officer,” he asked, seeking action against Rajendran.
Munnar is a popular tourist destination and there have been numerous reports of unauthorised and illegal construction. The Kerala high court issued an interim order in 2010 making it necessary for builders to first obtain a no-objection certificate (NOC) before construction begins. The order was issued in response to a plea alleging largescale encroachment of revenue or forest land.
The government has been mulling demolition of unauthorised constructions in the region. However, bureaucrats who have been eager to take action against the illegal construction have been transferred, allegedly under political pressure.