Most associations termed the alleged assault as an “attack” by the political executive on the bureaucracy in a bid to intimidate it.
New Delhi: While the three main associations representing civil servants in Delhi – the IAS Association, DANICS Association and DASS Association – had come out in support of chief secretary Anshu Prakash following an alleged assault on him at chief minister Arvind Kejriwal’s residence, there has been an outpouring of support from various other associations of public servants across the country, with almost all of them terming it as “political intimidation” of bureaucracy.
In a message, the Indian Forest Service Association (Central Unit) has termed the incident of February 19 as “highly disturbing, outrageous, shocking and highly deplorable,” while expressing its solidarity with the officer and seeking immediate arrest of all the “perpetrators and conspirators”.
‘It may erode morale, enthusiasm of sincere government servants’
The IAS Officers Association of Karnataka termed the assault a “criminal, cowardly and uncivilised act” and one that is “tantamount to attack on the executive branch of the government”. It cautioned that any attack on the bureaucracy will “erode the morale and enthusiasm of hard working and sincere government servants.”
The Telangana State IAS Officers institute while condemning the alleged physical assault said “what makes it even more condemnable is the fact that it took place in front of the chief minister and the deputy chief minister at the residence of the chief minister of Delhi at midnight hour”. It also said the assault appeared to be “pre-mediated” in order to bully, by use of force, the highest authority in the official executive to surrender to the irregular demands of the political executive.
Agreeing with the view of three associations of Delhi, the Federation of Railway Officers’ Associations said it was “political intimidation of bureaucracy and preventing the officials from discharging their official duties professionally”.
‘Not an attack on individual, but on highest level of permanent executive’
Pointing out that “the office of the chief secretary is an institution in itself and the chief secretary is the head of the administration of the entire state,” the Rajasthan IAS Officers Association said “such an attack is an attack not only on an individual at the highest level of permanent executive but also an assault on the entire administrative framework of the country.”
The IAS Association of Nagaland said “it is a criminal, cowardly and deplorable act and is just not acceptable”. It also urged the Centre to ensure security and safety of all its colleagues across the country. “Failure to guarantee safety and security of IAS officers can result in a functional crisis and breakdown of governance,” it cautioned.
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Airing a similar view, the Andhra Pradesh IAS Officers Association said the assault on chief secretary was not only a criminal act but also an attack on the independence and neutrality of the civil service. It said the incident was all the more “reprehensible” since it took place in the presence of the CM and his deputy.
‘It is tantamount to an assault on the Constitution’
Stating that such assaults have “no place in a civilised society”, the Punjab IAS Officers Association said “it is tantamount to an assault on the constitution”. The Odisha IAS Officers Association said “such incidents are a serious threat to the rule of law and functional autonomy of executive as enshrined in the constitution.”
The IAS Officers Association of Arunachal Pradesh which said the “behaviour of the elected representatives” amounted to “threat to life and physical safety of a public servant on duty and should be meted with sever legal action”.
The other associations which have criticised the incident include the civil service fraternity of Andaman and Nicobar Islands, the Haryana IAS Officers Association, IAS Officers Association Chhattisgarh, Tripura IAS Association, IAS Officers Association, Bihar Branch; the IAS Officers Association of Manipur; the MCD (General Wing) SC and ST Engineers Association, Delhi; Delhi Government Employees Association, and the IAS officers associations of West Bengal, Gujarat, Goa, Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand.
IRS association says it is concerned it all happened before the CM
The IRS Association said “it is a matter of deep concern if such an episode can happen with such an senior officer in the presence of the chief minister.” It wondered that then “can be the fate of an ordinary government servant or citizen”. Incidentally, Kejriwal had worked in the Indian Revenue Service as an officer in the Income Tax Department.
Varsha Joshi, an IAS officer posted as secretary of power and tourism with the Delhi government, who had been putting out these messages of support, when trolled on the issue, wrote: “Request to keep civil servants – who wish for nothing more than to be allowed to do their duty with dignity – out of political discussions.”
She added that the officers have “taken a conscious decision that we will not do any pen down. We will continue to serve the people of Delhi. Because we care for our work.”