HOURS AFTER the IAS Association of the AGMUT cadre held a press conference Sunday to reiterate that “they are not on strike” and that they “do not feel safe attending all meetings”, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal reached out to them and assured their “safety and security”. This is the first time since the alleged attack on Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash in February that the CM has publicly reached out to the IAS officers — barring one WhatsApp message to Prakash in the middle.
In a statement addressing the concerns raised by the officers, Kejriwal said, “I will ensure their safety and security with all powers and resources available at my command… the officers are a part of my family. I would urge them to stop their boycott… and start attending all meetings of ministers. They should work without fear or pressure.”
The statement comes even as AAP leaders and supporters marched to the PM’s house on Sunday evening “to plead with him to bring the IAS officers back to work”. At the Press Club of India, revenue secretary Manisha Saxena said, “All officers are working, attending meetings, doing inspections and moving files despite being targetted and victimised by this government. No officer is on strike… this is all misinformation. IAS officers are nameless, faceless bureaucrats, but this is an abnormal situation, which is why we have to clarify our stand.”
Also present were Transport Commissioner Varsha Joshi; South Delhi District Magistrate Amjad Tak; Directorate of Information and Publicity Secretary Jaydev Sarangi among other IAS officers.
On “missing routine meetings”, Sarangi said, “We attend statutory meetings, Cabinet meetings, and Assembly sessions too. After what happened with the chief secretary, we are scared… if this can happen to the head of bureaucracy, who is safe? If we don’t feel safe attending a meeting or feel like it will impact our self-respect, we do not attend that meeting. But we are not on strike.”
The officers spoke about the “need for security, trust-building exercises”, and that “the only form of protest they are observing is a five-minute silence during lunch hours to acknowledge the assault on the chief secretary”. Joshi, Saxena and Sarangi also claimed to have “received threats” but did not elaborate further.