Amid controversy after the government initiated departmental inquiry against Shah Faesal over his ‘Rapistan’ tweet, the 2010 batch Kashmiri IAS topper in an exclusive interview said “government employees can’t be asked to work under a coop”.
Government service conduct rules are “so open-ended that just anyone can get a memo anytime in the name of unbecoming behaviour or utterances critical of government policy”, Faesal said.
It is about the larger issue of freedom of speech of millions of government employees whom we often find completely detached and withdrawn from the public space out of the fear of an Orwellian monster called Government.”
Faesal said, government employees were “an inseparable part of the society who can’t be expected to disengage themselves completely from the pressing moral questions of the time.”
About his earlier tweets and Facebook posts expressing anguish over the rising trend of violence against women in India, he said when something alarming is happening around us, “it will disturb everyone who is a part of the society, government employees included.”
“There is very little that can justify the curbs on free speech of government employees.”
Faesal also remarked that social media is a “big disruption which has totally changed the environment in which employer-employee relationship operates both in government and private sector.”
Presently on a study leave in the US, where he’s pursuing a Masters degree at the Harvard University, Faesal also responded to speculations whether he might quit his job or choose another career path.
“I want to be in public life,” he said and revealed “it shouldn’t surprise if I switch over to a new career someday… While IAS will always remain an important part of my identity, there is definitely more to my life than just that.”