Three days after he was attacked by BJP Indore MLA Akash Vijayvargiya, Indore Municipal Corporation (IMC) officer Dhirendra Bayas said he lives in fear and has sought police protection. Speaking to The Sunday Express at length for the first time since the attack on Wednesday, Bayas said that there was no provocation for the attack and that he was simply doing his job.
Vijayvargiya, who was sent to jail for the assault, was granted bail by a special court in Bhopal on Saturday.
Explaining the sequence of events of June 25, Bayas, who has been working with the IMC since 1992 and is now zonal officer, said, “When we reached the spot, police personnel were with us. Akash (Vijayvargiya) ji said, ‘We are also coming, wait for us’. We said okay. My senior officer Ashish Khare was the one speaking to him, not me. He told him that this building is deteriorating, it has to be demolished, and that we had issued a circular (for the demolition) on the 19th (of June).”
Bayas said, “When they came, we showed them the building. (Vijayvargiya) then said leave this place in 10-15 minutes or you will be chased away from here. This is all that was said. I was standing at the side – you will see in the videos that I was standing at the side. I said nothing to anyone. My relationship with him is good – he calls me Bayas ji, I call him Akash ji. I don’t know what happened suddenly. I was doing some work on the phone and he began (attacking with the bat). When he started, then the people with him also attacked.”
Bayas, who spoke to the Express over the phone from a private hospital, said that despite the attack, he had no serious injuries. “I have some old medical problems which flared up, which is why I am resting. I don’t have any injuries from that day,” he said.
With the BJP alleging that Vijayvargiya was angered by officials misbehaving with women tenants at the structure in Ganji complex, Bayas said, “Nothing like this happened at all. Everyone was there, the media was there, police were there. Why would we do anything like this? There is no proof to any of these things because it simply didn’t happen. I didn’t enter the house at all that day. Who would have the courage to enter such a crumbling house?”
Asked if he was afraid, Bayas said, “If you look at the others who were attacking me, they are all goons. Who can tell what they have in their mind for the future? Bhay hai, bilkul hai. Mujhko bhi hai, mere bhaiya ko bhi hai, sabko hai (Of course I am scared. I am, my brother is, everyone’s scared). I have written to the Superintendent of Police for protection, because the matter has become so big. I was just doing my job, and people were attacking me. Despite that, I kept my cool. Many workers from that area were protecting me because I have worked there for 15 to 20 years. Goons from other areas were the ones hitting me. This was the situation. People of three wards under me are all shocked that I was attacked.”
Bayas added that in his professional opinion, the dilapidated structure is a public safety hazard and must be brought down. “In my professional opinion, that house has to be hundred per cent brought down. Anyone who goes there can see parts have already collapsed. It is not like that building will stay up at all,” he said.