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Let civil servants have freedom to raise pertinent issues

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Let civil servants have freedom to raise pertinent issues
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Niyaz Khan, IAS (file photo)

Shouldn't the IAS Association and its senior and junior and even the retired members speak up for the Madhya Pradesh cadre bureaucrat, Niyaz Khan? Yes, they should, because Niyaz Khan was only speaking out rather too bluntly cum honestly, coming forth with some basic realities, along the strain that there ought to be focus on the 'killings' cum disasters facing the Muslim community in the country. Mind you, he was stating this in his tweets, in the backdrop of the controversial film – The Kashmir Files.

The fact is that only a handful of serving bureaucrats carry the guts and grit to speak out. And when and if they do so, political hawks pounce on them. Correct me if I'm wrong but the last time a serving bureaucrat spoke out rather too blatantly against the Right- Wing brigades was over three years back. Yes, I'm referring to the communal rioting in 2018, in Uttar Pradesh's Kasganj, when hooligans carrying BJP's saffron flags compelled Muslims to chant Hindutva slogans. And the then District Magistrate of Bareilly, Raghavendra Vikram Singh, wrote this on his Facebook post in the backdrop of that communal rioting at Kasganj: "Ajab riwaz ban gaya hai. Muslim mohallo main julus le jao aur 'Pakistan murdabad' ke nare lagao. Kyun bhai, woh Pakistani hain kya?" (A strange tradition has come up. To visit the Muslim areas and raise slogans against Pakistan. Why, are they (Muslims) Pakistanis?)… Singh had earlier written a similar post, when in the Khelam area of district Bareilly, groups of kanwariyas walked through a Muslim-dominated village, raising provocative slogans …Not just Singh but at least other two officers posted in the Kasganj district, stated on the small screen, that when Muslim residents of a Muslim dominated locality of Kasganj were readying to unfurl the National Flag, several Hindutva men arrived on bikes —said to be affiliated to the VHP and other Right -Wing brigades—and they not just disrupted the flag-hoisting function but raised provocative slogans.

Getting back to Niyaz Khan and his comments, foremost, what is wrong or bizarre or unethical about his comments focusing on the plight and dangers faced by the Indian Muslims in today's political setup? He is a civil servant and hence it is part of his official duty to talk of the prevailing conditions and the ground realities that the citizens of the country face. Doesn't the very definition of a civil servant stretch to this – servant of the masses. And the minorities are definitely part and parcel of the masses.

In fact, why just Niyaz Khan? Ask any committed patriot and he or she will air similar views, because every single day Muslim citizens of this country are lynched and attacked and assaulted and humiliated by right-wing brigades unleashed in our midst by the official and unofficial killers of the day! Even last week two young men, both happen to be Muslims, were lynched in Uttar Pradesh. One of them died and the other is lying grievously injured.

And when a bureaucrat from any given caste and community raises questions about these ongoing lynch killings, then instead of probing those killings, why should the messenger be hounded and harassed and near-killed in that process! Why snatch away that basic freedom from a bureaucrat to question and query the political mess unleashed by the political rulers of the day! Why relay scare and threats to the serving bureaucrats?

The basic fact that hits is this: Survival for the Musalmaan of the country is getting tougher by the day. Targeted assaults on Muslim men are ongoing. Muslim women are also getting targeted. Last summer came up the Sulli Deals app and then came up the Bulli Bai app. Out to target Muslim women. Putting up photographs of Muslim women. That their virtual auctioning! Hate for the 'other' could reach this level was unthinkable. Where even the hijab was made into a full- fledged controversy, causing disruption in their college-education and higher studies.

One cannot react rather too openly for fear of the aftermath. Also, there is no helpline number where one can reach out. Also not too sure if the distress calls will bring about relief. Manned that they would be by the sarkari lot, who in turn will be under due pressure from the babus and mantris. Mind you, many manning the political and administrative and policing machinery are with right-wing backgrounders to them. In fact, if the system was fair then there would be adequate scare of the sarkari bandobast, but that's not so!

Why third-class political propaganda is on against the Muslim community? When facts of the Muslim community are out there in the open. Documented in the reports of the Sachar Committee, Gopal Singh Committee, Kundu Committee. These reports carry details of the dismal conditions faced by the Muslim community. There are also detailed reports on the condition of the Muslim women in the country. The stark fact that stands out is this: Muslim women are disadvantaged on three fronts - as women, as members of a minority community, and most of all as poor women.

And today with Hindutva brigades not letting people from the two communities reside close to each other or even befriend each other, we are to be fed on myths and misconceptions and twisted notions about the 'other'. And to further compound the situation, Hindutva hate speech givers and hate -spreaders are given some level of that very obvious protection by the political top brass. That's why they manage to go about scot free.

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Severe hate and complete hatred for the Muslims is getting circulated in all possible ways. Gaps are getting filed in by the latest propaganda film, The Kashmir Files. One of those well-planned and well- executed ventures to widen the gaps through blatantly unethical and unscrupulous means, in an atmosphere where polarization has been made to peak at an alarming and dangerous pace. What an unwarranted promotion of this highly controversial film, when ministers and chief ministers and even the prime minister talk of this film!

Facts to the Kashmir tragedy of the early 1990s are well-documented in books and volumes and research works, where both the communities – the Kashmiri Pandits and Kashmiri Muslims - faced severe tragedies, yet today communally slanted twists are getting churned out, to suit a particular Agenda.

What about the aftermath of this lethal spread of communal hatred? What if civil strife spreads out? Well, then all the political hawks and their deputies will hide or duck in their sarkari bungalows laced with the latest weaponry and it's the middle class and the lower middle class who will face the ugly dimensions to civil strife.

After several decades the survivors could get to realize that they were fed only and only on fascist propaganda, out to bring about sheer destruction. But by then it would be rather late in the day!

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TAGS:Niyaz Khan IAS Madhya Pradesh IAS cadre comments about hatred for Muslims Raghavendra Vikram Singh of Bareilly 
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