Was tactful, didn't risk communal harmony: IAS officer Durga to UP govt

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New Delhi:  Durga Shakti Nagpal, the IAS officer whose suspension has provoked a national debate, offered her defense today to the Uttar Pradesh government.

Ms Nagpal, 28, met the state's Chief Secretary, Javed Usmani, and clarified that she had not endangered communal harmony by asking for a wall near an under-construction mosque to be demolished, as alleged by Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav.

The IAS officer said that on July 27, villagers themselves razed the wall after she pointed out that Supreme Court rules forbid religious structures on government land, and that necessary clearances had not been taken. Other bureaucrats have alleged that Ms Nagpal was punished for successfully curbing illegal sand mining in the region.

Her clarification comes on a day when a video jutted into the controversy. On camera, senior Samajwadi Party Narendra Bhati brags to supporters that it took him just two phone calls - to the chief minister and his father, Mulayam Singh Yadav - and "just 41 minutes" to have the IAS removed as Sub-Divisional Magistrate of Gautam Budh Nagar

Mr Bhati is his party's candidate for the next parliamentary election from Noida. Opposition parties allege that he is close to some mining mafia dons in the area.

Meanwhile, the Allahabad High Court today praised Ms Napgal for her "brave" campaign against illegal mining, but said it could not intervene in her suspension because the petition it heard had been moved by an activist and not the IAS officer.

A report based on information from local police and administrative officials clears Ms Nagpal of the charges against her. It finds that villagers removed the contentious wall after she pointed out that clearances to build a religious building, as mandated by the Supreme Court, had not been taken (Read the Supreme Court judgement).


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