Jammu and Kashmir’s first UPSC Civil Services topper, Shah Faesal, is facing disciplinary action for his ‘sarcastic tweet against rape-culture in South Asia’. Shah Faesal on Tuesday stirred a row after he posted the letter by General Administration Department of the Jammu and Kashmir administration which states that he has failed to maintain absolute honesty and integrity in discharge of his duties.
Faesal had on April 22 tweeted: “Patriarchy + Population + Illiteracy + Alcohol + Porn + Technology + Anarchy = Rapistan!” The 2010 batch Indian Administrative Service officer had drawn sharp criticism from people after which he had claimed that his remark was not about India.
In a tweet on Tuesday, Shah posted the letter of departmental action that has been sent to him. He wrote: “Love letter from my boss for my sarcastic tweet against rape-culture in South Asia. The Irony here is that service rules with a colonial spirit are invoked in a democratic India to stifle the freedom of conscience. I’m sharing this to underscore the need for a rule change.”
Initiating a departmental action, the government said: “you have allegedly failed to maintain absolute honesty and integrity in discharge of your official duty and thus acted in a manner unbecoming of a public servant.”
The letter states: “the Department of Personnel & Training, Government of India has forwarded to this department a copy of communication, along with its enclosures, in which several references have been made by you in your twitter account, in which contents are prima-face in contravention of the extant provisions of All India Services (Conduct Rules), 1968/All India Services (Discipline and Appeal) Rules, 1969. Screen-shots of the posts made by you in your twitter account are enclosed.”
The letter adds: “the Department of Personnel & Training, Government of India has requested the State Government to initiate action against you under provisions of All India (Discipline & Appeal) Rules, 1969, and to intimate the action taken to the Department of Personnel & Training, Government of India.”
Faesal is currently an Edward S Mason Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School on study leave.
Defending Faizal, former J&K chief minister Omar Abdullah questioned how a sarcastic tweet could be labelled as dishonest. “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?,” he tweeted.
In July 2016, the Centre had said that it plans to tighten the noose against government officials from making any anti-government statements on social media. The proposal had been made after an IAS officer Ajay Gangwar had put up a Facebook post critical of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He was later transferred by the Madhya Pradesh government and was told to give an explanation.