New Delhi: The speculation over IAS officer Shah Faesal rejoining the government does not undo how he was treated by the system when he was “unconstitutionally” arrested, former IAS officer Kannan Gopinathan, who resigned from the service last year following Faesal’s arrest, has said.
In an interview to ThePrint, Kannan said while he was surprised to read about Faesal possibly rejoining the service, it has not prompted a rethink in his mind over his own resignation.
“I did not resign from the IAS because Shah Faesal resigned…One of the reasons I resigned was the way he was brazenly, blatantly and unconstitutionally treated by the system, and the media silence that ensued after his arrest,” Kannan said. “That does not get nullified even if he re-joins the service.”
While Kannan said he would not judge why Faesal has taken the decision he has, he believes the deterioration of the democratic credentials of the government has continued. “I resigned for myself. I saw the way someone like Shah Faesal was being treated by the system I was a part of, and I could not justify that to myself,” he said. “The democratic credentials of this government have only worsened since, so me rejoining the government is not a question.”
Kannan’s resignation yet to be accepted
Just like Faesal, Kannan Gopinathan’s resignation too has not yet been accepted by the government. In August last year, the 2012-batch officer of the AGMUT cadre had quit the service after he got “disillusioned” by the events that had taken place in Kashmir following the Modi government’s decision to scrap Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir.
As recently as in April this year, however, the government had asked Kannan, who has since his resignation been a vocal critic of the Modi dispensation, to rejoin as an officer amid the Covid-19 outbreak. Subsequently, an FIR was registered against him under the Epidemic Diseases Act and the Disaster Management Act for refusing to join duty.
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“I do not expect them to accept my resignation, but joining the service is not a possibility for me,” he said. “They can arrest me if they want.”
Kannan also said it would be unfair to draw parallels between Faesal and him. “Our backgrounds, our experiences are very different, and they continue to be very different…I have no idea what he has gone through in the last one year, so any parallels would be unfair.”
He added, “I don’t think Faesal resigned as a mark of protest. The way I saw it, it was someone who had a lot of faith in the administrative system of the country, showing more faith in the political system.”
While he is confident that Faesal will do the best he can to serve the public, Kannan said, “He (Faesal) was thoroughly let down by the people at large. He was under detention for a year, and nobody said anything.”
Faesal had announced his decision to resign from the IAS in a Facebook post in January 2019, writing that he was quitting to protest against “unabated killings” in Kashmir and the “marginalisation of Indian Muslims”.
The 2009 UPSC exam topper then formed the Jammu and Kashmir People’s Movement, a Kashmir-based political party, months before Article 370 was scrapped in the erstwhile state. He was put under detention along with several other political leaders. During his year-long detention, Faesal was also charged under the stringent Public Safety Act.
Earlier this month, he quit the party he had formed. In an interview to ThePrint, he said he is not averse to working for the government again.
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