(IAS officer who resigned from the elite service over denial of freedom to the people of Kashmir)

kannan gopinath

Respected Sir;

It has been almost eight months since you resigned from the elite Indian Administrative Service (IAS). How easy or hard it would have been for you to resign from a post which every youngster in India is dreaming of, I often thought about this after I heard of your resignation. Sir, being under one of the Kashmir’s worst lockdown after August 05, I never came through the news that you had resigned courtesy to the inhumane communication clampdown by the Indian state and it came to my notice only after I saw multiple posts on social media that an ‘IAS officer again declined to rejoin his services’. “Kashmir” was the word attached with your name in the headlines that attracted me to browse the story and it’s when I came to know that you had resigned on 21st of August last year, citing lockdown & denial of freedom in Kashmir as your reason. Soon I saw Kashmir’s social media abuzz with praises for you and netizens posting your pictures, praising you, showing respect & sending you love all the way from Kashmir.  As I went through the news I found you were concerned over the suppression on Kashmiris and at the same time it reminded me of my state’s bureaucrats, how they enjoyed every bit of suffering their community was being subjected to post August 2019. Your demission from the prestigious service sent a shiver down my spine that what if Kashmiri IAS officers would have resigned in unison to protest against the abrogation of Article 370 that was guaranteed to us under the constitution of India. What impact it would have made and what could have been its consequences? I kept thinking. But as you had said somewhere post your resignation “one has one’s own conscience to answer to”. And I got the answer. Dead and degraded, ignominy. Responded my mind and soul.

Sir, here in my part of the world, people are very sensitive to the external changes, thanks to the decades old conflict. They sensed something unusual was going to happen with the special status which was always very dear to heart of kashmiris but it were our top bureaucrats who kept the whole populace in murkiness, proving their loyalty to a certain political party.

Sir, the decision to quit such an elite post would not have been an easy task for you. You may have faced the resistance of the masses and received all the IT cell type criticism from a faction of the society over your decision. You may have been harassed and summoned (that I heard of) over time & again to reconsider your decision. Personally, as a conscious student, I believe officers like you need to be in system to make it function perfectly, to serve the people with zeal and zest but yes how can one’s conscience allow one to remain silent and relaxed when explicit oppression is happening on his brethren around. In the end it is about standing for what you believe. You have truly set an example that when government is corrupt and arrogant in its nature a public servant can’t carry like everything is normal. When freedom of expression is chocked, public servants committed to protecting the very basis of constitution, can’t sit back and relax. You made an example out of it. As an IAS officer for seven years, your record proves that you have never bowed down before the political gimmicks and you serve the society selflessly, honestly and fearlessly without being biased. It would be unfair to make your comparison with those brazen and arrogant officers who forget all those ideals and values leave the conscience, once they taste the power of bureaucratic chairs in the beautiful yet bruised valley of saints. They even have never shown any concern over the denial of the fundamental rights to the people of J&K.

Since you resigned over the Kashmir lockdown, I hope you remember Shah Faesal, Kashmir’s IAS officer who topped the exam in 2008, who had also resigned from this elite service on January 9, 2019 over the unabated killings in Kashmir. He is in jail since August 05. I pray you would never meet the fate he had post resignation.

This sacrifice of yours will always remain a part of public memory here in Kashmir. History will remember you. History will judge you and it will judge each of the loyalists of an arrogant regime, it will judge each who remained silent while Kashmiris were dying for humanitarian help.

I hope you will extend and volunteer your services in health, wealth and mind towards the society in this fight against Covid-19 as promised.

While I hope you had no PSA signs and other atrocities committed on masses on your credit which is a trademark of the officers of your category here, I would love to host you someday here in Kashmir on the banks of Dal. I’d love to give you a ride towards my home in south Kashmir’s Shopian.

More respect, more love and power to you.

Thanking you


A kashmiri Student in a different lockdown.


(Bio: Gazi Muzamil is a Student Activist with J&K Students Movement. He can be reached at gazimuzamil102@gmail.com)



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One Comment

  1. Such brave decision by Mr. Kanan Gopinathan would motivate severlal students of future generations, which value the Constitution, it’s narratives of freedom, equality! Salute to Mr Kanan, who opted not to become Stenographer of right wing politicians.