JAMMU: In the current spell of Sangbaz agitation in Kashmir, yet another IAS officer has gone public questioning the use of force against ‘innocent’ people. Ironically, this time the IAS officer is entangled in social media duel with an IPS officer, posted in sensitive Sopore town.
On Wednesday, a senior police officer and an IAS officer, from the Valley, took each other on in a series of Facebook comments over the death of a young boy due to pellet injuries.
Ruveda Salam, who hails from the Valley and works under the Ministry of Finance, wrote a post indirectly accusing the ruling PDP, led by Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, of “hypocrisy”. Responding in the comments section, SP Sopore, Harmeet Singh Mehta, asked Salam to resign and join the separatists – Mehta also called her an “ignorant lady”.
Questioning the State should normally be outside the domain of a civil servant, lest he or she assume the role of an activist or politician to play politics. But in Jammu and Kashmir, civil service conduct rules seem to be applied selectively. This happened in 1990- 1991 when dozens of IAS and KAS officers, who petitioned against so-called human rights violations during the tenure of the then Governor Jagmohan did not only go scot-free but were rewarded with prize postings. One of them rose to the highest echelon of Jammu and Kashmir bureaucracy and several others held or are holding key positions. While raising the human rights of a particular segment, they chose to ignore the entire minority community, which was hounded out of the Valley by gun-wielding terrorists and their overground supporters in separatist camp and some media persons. Talking against India does not perhaps invoke disciplinary action but speaking for the nation does.
Kashmir has witnessed institutions and individuals being dismantled to appease and placate some people while those taking the nation head on getting eulogized.
2008: Dr Arun Kumar, IAS 1979 Batch, then Principal Secretary to Governor and Chief Executive Officer, Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board pleads innocence after being ‘fired’ for his comment, “Pollution is pollution; it can’t be a religious pollution”.
2016: Dr Shah Faisal, IAS 2009 Batch, Director School Education, Kashmir, threatens to resign for a section of national media projecting him as the Valley’s bright young face in the backdrop of terrorist Burhan being presented as ‘youth icon’ by separatists, secessionists and some influential mainstream politicians.
This is a tale of two IAS officers; one subjected to humiliation and harassment and the other becoming rage of social media.
When Dr Arun Kumar tried to cool down passions in the midst of controversy in June 2008 over transfer of a small chunk of land in Baltal for raising temporary facilities for the Amarnathji bound pilgrims, to insulate them against weather vagaries, he was confronted by a journalist during his routine media interaction at Raj Bhavan in Srinagar, saying that larger question was that of pollution which the incoming pilgrims create during the yatra. Dr Kumar had replied that pilgrims do visit various pilgrim destinations across the globe and the respective governments take due care of facilities and preventive measures to ensure health and hygiene. As the conversation progressed, he is reported to have said that pollution should not be attributed to any particular segment of society and the Amarnath Shrine Board has taken appropriate measures to make the yatra environmental friendly. This comment was blown up beyond proportions, as a result of which the Kumar couple (Sonali Kumar, 1979 batch IAS officer, who retired as Chairperson, J&K Special Tribunal, last November).
Dr Arun Kumar was pushed to the wall and even the BJP, which pretended to be the champions of persecuted, did not help him and remained as mute spectator to his supersession by a junior as Chief Secretary, a dream of any civil servant.
On the contrary, Dr Shah Faisal remains untouched for his sweeping remarks over tackling of Pakistan sponsored Kashmir violence, post Burhan elimination in an encounter. According to Indian Express on 16 July 2016, he is reported to have stated, quote unquote, “No government would want to hurt its people and when a state kills and maims its own citizens, it’s self-injury and self-decimation of the worst sort, it makes the body-politic bleed as well. So no government can distance itself from the pain of its people and all out efforts are being made to contain this crisis and reach out to youth. It is going to take time.”
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