Press Trust of india

Shah Faesal questions disciplinary action against him

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Says service rules ‘with colonial spirit stifle freedom of conscience’

Srinagar, Jul 11: IAS officer Shah Faesal, who is facing disciplinary proceedings over his “rapistan” tweet, today questioned the action asking if government employees were expected to completely detach themselves from moral questions of the society as anything could be interpreted as criticism.

Faesal, a 2010-batch IAS officer currently pursuing a mid-career masters programme in the US, also said that service rules with a “colonial spirit” were invoked in a democratic India to “stifle the freedom of conscience”.

“The larger question here is that can government employees be asked to detach themselves completely from the moral questions of the society and keep quiet just because anything and everything can be read as criticism of government policy?” Faesal said responding to tweets about disciplinary action initiated against him.

Earlier, disciplinary action was initiated against Faesal over one of his tweets on the incidence of rape.

In a notice to Faesal, the General Administration Department (GAD) said, “You have allegedly failed to maintain absolute honesty and integrity in the discharge of official duty and thus acted in a manner unbecoming of a public servant.”

The GAD initiated the disciplinary proceedings at the request of the Centre’s Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT).

Faesal had earlier posted a tweet saying, “Population +patriarchy +illiteracy+alcohol+porn +technology +anarchy = rapistan(sic)”. The post had drawn the DoPT’s attention.

The IAS officer, however, defended the post saying he had not criticised government policy.

“If rape is part of government policy, then I plead guilty for criticism of the government policy,” he tweeted.

A Twitter user asked Faesal if being part of a “colonial bureaucracy” meant lack of freedom and officials were just hired to function, get paid and retire.

“That’s a fact. It actually works that way. But then that doesn’t make participation in the government any less important for our lives. I leave but the show will go on,” he added.

Faesal, who had earlier made headlines when he topped the civil services exam, appeared dismissive of the notice issued to him.

“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,” he said.

National Conference leader Omar Abdullah, meanwhile, came out in support of the IAS officer.

“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? (sic)” Omar Abdullah tweeted.

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