The feudal attitude and sense of entitlement of a large section of the Indian bureaucracy received a jolt today as the Union Ministry of Home Affairs transferred an IAS officer, who had been in the eye of a storm since this morning for reportedly walking his dog in Delhi’s Thyagraj stadium, to Ladakh. A report had earlier emerged in the media that sportsmen using the stadium were forced to vacate it early in the evening as IAS officer Sanjeev Khirwar would arrive every day to walk his dog in the stadium.
“We used to train till 8-8.30 pm under lights earlier. But now, we are asked to leave the ground by 7 pm so that the officer can walk his dog on the ground. Our training and practice routine has been disrupted,” said a coach.
Some athletes who train at the facility had said that they are forced out of the stadium in time for the IAS officer to come to walk his dog.
Khirwar is a 1994 batch IAS officer who was posted as Delhi’s principal secretary (revenue). The wife of the bureaucrat, Rinku Dugga, an IAS officer herself, has been transferred to Arunachal Pradesh via the same MHA order.
In a video that emerged in news media, Khirwar and his wife were seen walking on the athletic tracks inside Thyagraj stadium with a dog.
When contacted, Khirwar, a 1994-batch IAS officer, described the allegation as “absolutely incorrect”. He accepted that he “sometimes” takes his pet for a walk at the facility but denied that it disrupted the practice routine of athletes.
But when The Indian Express visited the stadium on three evenings in the past seven days, the media house’s reporter saw the stadium guards walking towards the track at around 6.30 pm, blowing whistles and ensuring that the arena was cleared by 7 PM.
Soon after the controversy erupted, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal ordered all sports facilities run by the Delhi government, including the Thaygraj stadium, to be made available for use by sportspersons till 10 PM.