‘I want my voice back,’ says IAS officer who helped during Kerala floods in 2018
The young UT-cadre Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer, Kannan Gopinathan (32), who quit civil service two days back, said freedom of expression is foremost and suspension of fundamental rights in a state is one of the reasons behind his decision.
“It is my personal decision. I want my voice back. I joined the service believing I can give a voice to others. But, now I am not in a position to air my voice freely. I want to come out of this and act according to my conscience,” he told the Hindustan Times over phone from Dadra and Nagar Haveli, where he is posted.
Hailing from Kerala, the 2012 batch IAS officer was in the news last year after he was noticed working in a relief camp in Kerala discreetly.
“Freedom of expression is supreme. I am perturbed over the suspension of fundamental rights in one of the states. At least 19 days passed since this was enforced. Response to this is also muted. If you ask me, yes this is one of the reasons behind my decision,” he said, without mentioning about the clampdown on communication in Jammu and Kashmir.
He said he had tendered his resignation so that he could air his views like anyone else.
When asked whether such views would invite trouble, he said, he is not worried. The Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), the cadre management body for IAS officers, is yet to accept his resignation.
“Many half-cooked and hollow interpretations are doing the rounds now. I am not worried. I believe in the core values of our democracy,” he said adding he was aware of service rules when he took up the job but it doesn’t mean he has to be silent for his lifetime. He said it was not an impulsive decision but a well thought out one. When asked whether his decision will impact prospective civil service aspirants he said “no”.
“Look, I am not leaving the service blaming it. My decision is purely a personal one and it will not demoralize anyone. If service is your aim, pursue it vigorously,” he said.
On his future plans, Gopinathan, hailing from Eramalloor in Alappuzha district, said: “To be frank, I have not thought about it. But I will be here. As of now I have no plans to come back to Kerala either.”
During last year’s floods he came to Kerala to hand over a cheque of the Dadra and Nagar Haveli administration and left the place quietly. On leave, he worked eight days in different relief camps discreetly by loading and unloading relief material. He left immediately after his batch-mate, then Ernakulam district collector, Y S Safarulla recognized him. His silent service soon turned viral on social media after he left the state. Shunning publicity later, he said, he was only doing his job when his state was in distress.