Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has staunchly backed IAS officer Shah Faesal who had on Tuesday revealed that the Central Department of Personnel and Training (DOPT) had initiated action against him for what he described as 'his sarcastic tweet against rape-culture in South Asia'.
JKNC chief Abdullah took to Twitter to take a stand on the issue, writing:
"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?"
On Tuesday evening, Faesal, a 2010-batch IAS officer who is the only person from Jammu and Kashmir to have topped the prestigious civil services examination, had tweeted the official letter issued to him over this April 22 tweet:
The DOPT letter, forwarded to him by the J&K government's General Administration Department reads as follows:
"WHEREAS, 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 Service (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;
AND WHEREAS, the Department of Personnel and 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 and Training, Government of India;
AND WHEREAS, 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';"
It is the above paragraph that Omar Abdullah has specifically criticised. The letter also contains a screenshot of Faesal's tweet.
Faesal wrote the following while sharing it:
Faesal has previously served as the Managing Director of the J&K State Power Development Corporation. He is currently on a study leave as a Fullbright scholar in the US. His Twitter handle lists him as a Mason Fellow at Harvard University. His tweet came during the country-wide outrage over the horrific Kathua rape and murder and the Unnao rape case.
The central government had in 2016 banned officials from criticising the government on social media. Under these rules, a statement of fact or an opinion which “has the effect of an adverse criticism” of any current or recent policy or action is treated as criticism.