IAS officer quits: ‘Unethical to continue when building blocks of democracy being compromised’

This comes after Kannan Gopinathan, a 2012-batch IAS officer from Kerala, resigned last month, citing curbs on the “entire state” of J&K.

S Sasikanth Senthil, a 2009-batch IAS officer of Karnataka cadre, resigned on Friday, citing that it is “unethical” for him to continue as a civil servant when the “fundamental building blocks of our diverse democracy are being compromised”.

This comes after Kannan Gopinathan, a 2012-batch IAS officer from Kerala, resigned last month, citing curbs on the “entire state” of J&K.

Thirty-nine-year-old Senthil, who was posted as deputy commissioner of Dakshina Kannada since February, told The Indian Express,” The (political) framework that has come to our country now is very easy to spot in history. It has all the ingredients of what happened in Poland, Germany, Burma; even Russia. any sort of such fascist approaches…I need to come out to talk about it.”

He said the decision was not taken in a day. “Kashmir…was one of the check boxes in that framework I mentioned, absolutely one of the triggers for my decision….”

In a letter to his friends, Senthil wrote, “I have taken this decision as I feel that it is unethical for me to continue as a civil servant in the government when the fundamental building blocks of our diverse democracy are being compromised in an unprecedented manner. I also feel strongly that coming days will present extremely difficult challenges to the basic fabric of our nation and that I would be better off outside the IAS to continue with my work at making life better for all.”

Known to be a no-nonsense bureaucrat in Mangaluru region, Senthil is liked by politicians from across the spectrum for his effective negotiation to prevent communal clashes.

He said he had “absolutely no problem” with the BJP-led state government or the MLAs in Mangaluru. “I don’t have a problem against any of them as they do not have any role in framing national policies,” he said.

The son of a retired district judge in Chennai, Senthil completed his engineering from Regional Engineering College, Trichy. He worked at a private engineering college and a software company before starting preparations for for civil service. He cleared the entrance in his third attempt with an all-India rank of 9.

“I was never an IAS officer who wanted to become a cabinet secretary. I wanted to work at the grassroots,” he said, adding that he has no plans to join a political party.

A top source who worked with Senthil said, “He was hurt at many national developments. In bureaucracy, curtailing fundamental rights is the last thing we do. Clampdown in Kashmir deeply upset him,” he said.

A senior colleague said, “The biggest challenge as a civil servant is not changing the world overnight but manoeuvring in it with a realistic approach to keep up the fight within the system.”

A source said BJP MLAs had ensured that Senthil was not transferred out after the party came to power in Karnataka. “Several officials were transferred but he was retained as he was credited for keeping Mangaluru free of communal problems.”

Source: The Indian Express

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