JEHANGIR ALI | 11 JULY, 2018
IAS Officer Faesal Targeted By MHA For Innocuous Tweet: “Prepared to Lose My Job”
Political row breaks out
SRINAGAR: The explanation sought by the Union Home Ministry from Shah Faesal over his recent remarks on the culture of patriarchy and rape in India, has sparked a raging debate with the former chief minister Omar Abdullah coming out in defense of the 2010 IAS topper from Kashmir.
“Looks like DOPT is determined to chase @shahfaesal out of the civil services. The last line of this page is shocking & unacceptable where they question Faesal’s “integrity & honesty”. How is a sarcastic tweet dishonest? How does it make him corrupt?" Omar Abdullah wrote on Twitter.
“You have no problem when officers from Rajasthan & elsewhere defy “set norms of governance & conduct” yet Faesal’s tweet about rape bothers you. Somehow this doesn’t surprise me at all!” Abdullah said in another tweet.
In a sarcastic post on Facebook and Twitter, Faesal had said: “Patriarchy + Population + Illiteracy + Alcohol + Porn + Technology + Anarchy = Rapistan!”. Flagging his remarks, the order by the Department of Personnel and Training, which Faesal uploaded on his social media yesterday, has asked the state government to seek response from him within 15 days.
The order also accuses Faesal, who is on a Fulbright funded study leave, of failure in “maintaining absolute honesty and integrity in discharge of official duty.”
Responding to the order, Faesal said: “It’s nothing but bureaucratic over-enthusiasm. I don’t think this warrants any action. Rape is not part of government policy that criticism of rape would mean criticism of government policy and invite action. If it’s so, then I plead guilty.”
“The irony here is that service rules with a colonial spirit are invoked in a democratic India to stifle the freedom of conscience. And yes this is not a stunt. I'm sharing this to underscore the need for a rule change for the changing times,” Faesal said on Facebook.
Meanwhile, the action against Faesal has sparked a raging debate in Kashmir with many terming it as an assault on freedom of speech and expression while others reminded the IAS officer of the perils of working in a highly politicised and communalized environment prevailing in the country.
“Instead of succumbing to emotional trauma, that of losing his father, he chose to put in the hard yards with the aim to serve his fellow Kashmiris in whatever little capacity he could, as a doctor first and bureaucrat later, in a defunct and colonial system. India marketed him as a role model and now accuses him of violating service rules,” political commentator Gowhar Geelani said.
In an interview, Faesal said he was willing to lose his prized job for a 'greater good', “Losing my job is a small risk compared to the magnitude of the debate I’m trying to have. Yes, I could lose my job. But then the world is full of possibilities.”