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Friday, September 25, 2020

‘Restrictions won’t help convince people of Kashmir’: IAS officer who quit service

IAS officer Kannan Gopinathan said he could not accept the fact that the people of Kashmir could neither react or respond to the decision taken by the government to abrogate Article 370 and he could not continue in the service during such time.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: August 25, 2019 10:35:11 pm
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Days after handing over his resignation, IAS officer Kannan Gopinathan said people of Kashmir had to be convinced about Article 370 and the “denial of freedom of expression” was not the way to do it, reported PTI.

The 2012-batch IAS officer said the decision to scrap special status of J&K under Article 370 “is the right of an elected government” but in a democracy people had the right to respond to such decisions.

“After taking the decision on Kashmir, nearly 20 days have passed and even now, the people there are not allowed to react or respond to it and that is not acceptable in a democratic setup. Personally, I could not accept it and continue in the service during such a time,” he told PTI.

Kannan said this was not something he could accept and insisted the best way was to allow people to express their views.

“This is not something I can accept in my country. I know that my acceptance doesn’t make any difference. But I wanted to express that this is not correct. We should allow them their Freedom of Expression. If they don’t like it we can try to convince them. We don’t convince by locking them up and not allowing them to express their views,” he said.

He lamented that as a bureaucrat he had “limitations” and could not talk about the matter but as citizens of a democratic country everyone should have the right to respond to decisions taken by the government.

“To abrogate Article 370 is the right of an elected government and to right to decide whether it is right or not is vested in the Supreme Court. As a bureaucrat I have limitations. But in a democracy, people have the right to respond against such decisions. The citizens of a democratic country has the right to react or respond to a decision taken by the government,” Gopinathan told PTI.

Gopinathan, who was Secretary at the Power Department of the Union Territories of Daman and Diu and Dadra and Nagar Haveli, submitted his resignation last Wednesday. He gained prominence after he was spotted carrying sacks of relief materials on his back and distributing them at relief camps during floods in Kerala last year.

(With PTI inputs)

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