Kashmiri bureacrat Shah Faesal’s tweet calling India a ‘Rapistan’
He tweeted- “Patriarchy+Population+Illiteracy+Alcohol+Porn+Technology+Anarchy = Rapistan!”
This tweet has come against the backdrop of national outrage over the rape and murder of a 8-year-old girl in Jammu’s Kathua, which cost two ministers their post and has become one of the prime reasons why BJP pulled out of coalition government with Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Jammu and Kashmir.
35-year-old Faesal landed in trouble due to his tweet and it got worse after Union government directed the state government headed by Governor N N Vohra, to initiate action against the officer for his tweets. The state government initiated a departmental inquiry and said that Faesal has failed to maintain absolute honesty and integrity in discharge of duties. General Administration Department(GAD) initiated the relevant proceedings at the request of the Centre’s Department of Personnel and Training.
The commissioner secretary of GAD wrote a letter which says “Whereas, the department of personnel and training, government of India has forwarded to this department a copy of communication along its enclosures, in which several references have been made by you in contravention of the extant provisions of All India Services (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,”
GAD noted that Faesal allegedly “failed in maintaining absolute honesty and integrity in discharge of official duty and thus acted in a manner unbecoming of public servant”.
Faesal, who is currently in the United States, reacted to this call for departmental action saying it is totally misplaced and against the freedom of speech. He said government officials can’t be asked to detach themselves completely from moral questions of the society they live in.
He said “We are not mere pen-pushers here who have no business in participating in the larger debates around social issues just because our opinions can be misinterpreted as being critical of the government of the day,”
“I think time has that the issue of freedom of speech and expression of government employees is debated and the conduct rules are rewritten in accordance with the spirit of our age when free speech has become more important than everything else,” he added.
He was 2010 IAS topper and also created history when he become the only officer from Jammu and Kashmir to have topped the civil services exam. He is presently pursuing Edward S Mason Mid Career Masters Programme at Harvard University.
Faesal is currently the Managing Director with the Jammu and Kashmir Power Development Corporation. In fact, Jammu and Kashmir has a small fraction of officers in the civil services and Faesal is not new to controversies. He has in the past written many controversial opinion pieces.
Faesal, in another tweet, responded in a sarcastic manner and called it a ‘Love letter’.
He tweeted, with the order attached, “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.”
“It is a ban on freedom of speech and aims at the very basic right of a concerned citizen. It is completely unacceptable,” Faisal said.
The move by the Centre against the bureaucrat from Jammu and Kashmir was been widely condemned by residents of Jammu and Kashmir on social media. Many have said that the bureaucrat is being punished for his social media activism and because of the archaic service rules of the Indian Civil Service.
Freedom of Speech abused- Shah Faesal called India a “Rapistan”
“He (Shah Faesal) has often been targetted by right-wingers, pro-establishment in India and pro-Independence league in Kashmir. The television unfortunately pitted him against Burhan Wani and in Kashmir this did not go well. He soon become a target for no fault of his own. And now this,” said industrialist and social activist Shakil Qalander .
Even National Conference chairman and Former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir Omar Abdullah tweeted in Faesal’s support, “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?
He also added “You have no problem when officers from Rajasthan & elsewhere defy “set norms of governance & conduct” yet Faesal’s tweet about rape bothers you. Somehow this doesn’t surprise me at all!”
Student activist Shehla Rashid also responsed to the news “Rally to defend rapists and lynching convicts, but act against those who critique rape culture. Sure, Faesal’s tweet may have been in poor taste, but lack of aesthetics doesn’t warrant a gag order when the bigger problem of rape stares us in the eye!!” she tweeted
In my opinion, of course rape is a heinous crime and rape cases of such cruelty shows degrading level of humanity and no fear of Law. Government should take preventive measures and strict action against the rapists. But to show anger in such a way ,that one insults its own mother land and define Hindustan to be a “Rapistan”, is going offlimit and an abuse of freedom of speech for any Hindustani.