Bareilly District Magistrate Raghvendra Vikram Singh, a 2005-batch IAS officer who has invited controversy over his recent Facebook post in the backdrop of communal violence in Kasganj in Uttar Pradesh, is a blogger who has written articles for several Hindi dailies on a range of issues, and seems to be a regular on social media.
A glance through the last few weeks of his social media posts presents the image of an officer who makes comments and observations on topics of currency such as whether to watch the film Padmaavat, VHP’s Ram Mandir leadership, the press conference by the four seniormost Supreme Court judges.
In his now-deleted Facebook post that had sparked a controversy, Singh, due for retirement in April, had reportedly written that it has now become a “trend” to take processions to Muslim localities and shout anti-Pakistan slogans. He asked, “…are they Pakistanis? (The) same had happened here in Khelam in Bareilly, that was followed by stone pelting and registration of FIRs.”
On Tuesday before leaving for Lucknow, Singh wrote on Facebook that his earlier post was regarding law and order problems in Bareilly.
A state civic service officer, who has worked with Singh, on Tuesday said, “In general, in informal conversations with colleagues, he never made any controversial remark. He likes to read and write on national issues — both diplomatic and social. I have read his write-ups in Hindi dailies. He used to have an independent view and usually does not speak in favour of or against any particular community.”
According to his Facebook page, Singh had served in the Army with postings in Jammu and Kashmir, Ranchi and Hyderabad before he completed his Short Service Commission. Thereafter, he joined UP State Civil Service and got promoted to IAS cadre in 2013, allotted 2005 batch.
He comes from Bahraich district of UP and completed his postgraduation in Economics from Gorakhpur University.
Singh has earlier served as district magistrate of Shrawasti, and additional municipal commissioner in Varanasi and Kanpur. Before taking over as the Bareilly DM in July 2017, he was Secretary, UP Information Commission.
Singh’s Facebook page claims that he has written about 200 articles in “widely circulated” Hindi dailies.
On Facebook, Singh made comments such as “nahin..hum ‘padmavat’ nahin dekhenge..kahin pasand aa gai to..! (No, I will not watch Padmaavat. What if I end up liking it?)”
On January 17, he had commented on the VHP: “VHP ki Ram Mandir Andolan ke saath hi samaj ke liye ek rachnatmak bhumika bhi ho sakti thi. Samajik ekikaran ke abhiyan ke abhaav me VHP ka vistar nahin ho saka. Hope…now they have a socially oriented pragmatic leadership.”
A day after the four senior Supreme Court judges addressed the media in Delhi, Singh wrote on social media, “Not just press conference..they will expose themselves further…Inshaallah!” and “Yeh bade judge bhi hum logon jaise chhote nikle…! (even the big judges emerged small people like us).”
On January 7, he had posted a photo with newly elected Bareilly mayor, the BJP’s Umesh Gautam, with caption, “In the victory procession of our Mayor Umesh Gautam…!”
Singh was not available for a comment on Tuesday. An official in Bareilly district administration said he had gone to Lucknow in connection with a case in High Court. Other colleagues refused to remark on his Facebook posts.