Kerala IAS Officer Resigns Over Lock-down In Kashmir; Says India Is Not Yemen

An  Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer from Kerala, Kannan Gopinathan, resigned from his position to freely speak about the oppression of people in Jammu and Kashmir (IOK), reported The Wire.

“It has been 20 days since there has been a lockdown on a whole region with all kinds of restrictions. I cannot remain silent over this even if this means I have to resign from the IAS in order to speak freely and that is what I have done,” he said.

Photo of Kannan Gopinathan from the days of his posting in Mizoram. PHOTO: Facebook page of Kannan Gopinathan.

The officer stated that the constitution allows for the imposition of a state of emergency if there is aggression within the region, but in Kashmir, it has been imposed as a preemptive measure.  People’s freedom has been curtailed on the grounds that if it is not, it will lead to an internal disturbance, he elaborated.

He said that according to an amendment in the Indian Constitution this reason was no longer valid for imposing the emergency. “This is not Yemen, this is not the 1970s, that you can deny basic rights to an entire people and nobody will say anything about it,” Gopinathan said.

The officer also stated that civil servants are expected to implement instructions without analysing what is morally right or wrong. However, he said that the conditions in Kashmir forced him to step down from his service.

“If I owned a newspaper, my headline tomorrow would just be the number ’20’ because it is the twentieth day that the people of Kashmir have been subjected to these restrictions on their freedoms,” he said.

Responding to a question about his future plans, Gopinathan said “I have not thought that far. But 20 years from now, if people ask me what I was doing when a virtual Emergency was imposed like this on a part of the country, at least I will be able to say that I resigned from the IAS.”