How former Collector of Ernakulam created a Women’s Day flutter on Facebook — the day on which she was transferred

Behind the News is your round-up of musings from the corridors of power. Read what goes on behind the scenes for news & newsmakers.

BySouth First Desk

Published Mar 09, 2023 | 1:28 PM Updated Mar 09, 2023 | 3:44 PM

Former district collector of Ernakulam Dr Renu Raj IAS (centre) attending an event organised by the women staff of the Ernakulam General Hospital on International Women's Day. (Facebook/Collector, Ernakulam)

Former Ernakulam District Collector Dr Renu Raj is in the news again — and trending on social media as well — not for her handling of a blaze at a garbage dump yard at Brahmapuram, but for a social media message she posted on International Women’s Day, the same day on which she was transferred to Wayanad.

“It’s proud to hear that you’re a woman, but the protest begins when told you’re merely a woman,” Renu Raj IAS posted on the Collector’s Facebook page.

“Women from all walks of society should not try to be like men, instead she needs to stand as women and understand the advantages and disadvantages of being a woman and successfully fulfill the responsibilities given by society. Others should accept this,” Renu Raj said in another post.

NSK Umesh, who succeeded Raj as the Collector in Ernakulam, has not deleted his predecessor’s posts that have been garnering positive comments, besides triggering a debate.

"Protest begins when told you're merely a woman," Dr Renu Raj IAS on Ernakulam Collector's official Facebook page. (Facebook/Collector, Ernakulam)

“Protest begins when told you’re merely a woman,” Dr Renu Raj on Ernakulam Collector’s official Facebook page. (Facebook/Collector, Ernakulam)

Raj celebrated International Women’s Day by participating in a women’s staff event at the Ernakulam General Hospital.

Incidentally, the Kerala government transferred nine IAS officers, including Raj, on Wednesday, 8 March. On Tuesday, the High Court of Kerala expressed displeasure over Raj not attending the court proceedings related to a suo motu writ petition filed in the Brahmapuram fire, which has made Kochiites live in a “gas chamber-like situation”.

Renu Raj trolled as well

Renu Raj was trolled on social media on Sunday, 5 March, after she declared a holiday only for class one to seven school students around Brahmapuram.

“Aren’t the lungs of those above class seven like sponges,” an internet user sought to know, using an anti-tobacco campaign as a parody.

“Will the smoke change its direction while approaching high school students,” another taunted Raj.

Incidentally, Raj had also drawn flak while declaring a holiday for educational institutions earlier. In August 2022, she delayed announcing a holiday for schools and colleges as heavy rains lashed the district.

The parents had already dropped off their wards at schools by the time she declared a holiday around 8.30 am. Some schools had already begun classes by then.