Kannan Gopinanthan
Kannan GopinathanFacebook

The personnel department of Daman and Diu told Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer Kannan Gopinathan to resume his duty immediately, a week after he submitted resignation over the government's Kashmir clampdown.

A notice dated August 27 and signed by the deputy secretary of the personnel department of Daman and Diu, Gurpreet Singh, stated that the officer must attend to his duties till his resignation is accepted by the Centre.

"Therefore, you are hereby directed to continue attending to your assigned duties immediately, till a decision is taken on your resignation," the letter said. The notice was stuck on the door of Gopinathan's guest room in Silvasa as he was was not present.

Gopinathan told PTI that he was aware of the notice and declined to comment further.

The Controversy

The IAS officer submitted his resignation on August 21 to protest against the ongoing clampdown in Jammu and Kashmir following the abrogation of Article 370 and wanted to freely express his opinion. While he agreed that New Delhi's decision on Kashmir was right of the "elected government" he condemned the move as a violation of democratic rights to lakhs of people in the valley.

Gopinathan, who has been known for his active participation in relief work during the 2018 Kerala floods, said that he took the decision to quit because he was disturbed by the denial fundamental rights in the Valley and could not continue to serve during such a time.

kashmir eid celebrations
Kashmiri women shout slogans during a protest in Srinagar earlier this month.Reuters

He admitted that he was personally removed from the situation and viewed his resignation as a "small" means to become a part of the discussion. "When freedom is being curtailed in your own country, when people aren't being allowed to express themselves freely, shouldn't it affect you?" he said during an interview with NDTV.

"It's not like my resignation will cause even a flutter, but one has one's own conscience to answer to," he had said.

Gopinathan hails from Kottayam and finished his schooling from Puthuppally in Kerala. He completed his Bachelors in electrical engineering from the Birla Institute of Technology, Mesra.

After working as a design engineer at a private company, he appeared for the UPSC examination. He is a member of the 2012 batch of Indian Adminstrative Service. He currently holds the position of Secretary, Power Department in the Union Territories of Daman and Diu, and Dadra and Nagar Haveli. 

Kashmir clampdown

The 33-year-old officer's resignation highlighted the contentious clampdown in J&K. While the state government has maintained the lockdown by calling it a "security measures", politicians including National Conference leader Omar Abdullah and Peoples Democratic Party chief Mehbooba Mufti have under police custody for almost a month.

Jammu and Kashmir governor Satya Pal Malik in a recent interview in Srinagar said that politicians who go to jail become leaders and claim better results in elections. Advising to make the detention into "political benefit" in the future he said that he "wished them well."

"Those who will go to jail, will become leaders. Let them be there. The more they spend time in the jail, the more they will claim during elections," he told reporters.

The issue of the communication lockdown has been the major topic of dissent among the people with emerging reports that have suggested an alarming number of loss of lives due to inability to convey emergencies to medical experts.

A doctor identified as Omar Salim Akhtar was recently arrested in Srinagar for speaking to the media about the severe healthcare crisis in the state.

Kashmiri's living outside the state have also expressed their helplessness by not able to contact their families.

Pal said that the suspension will continue as mobile and internet are "more used by terrorists and Pakistanis" than the people of the state.

Calling it a "dangerous instrument" where lies are spread he said, "The medium of Internet is little bit useful for us but more useful for terrorists, Pakistanis. It is also used to mobilise and for indoctrination."

On Thursday, August 29, mobile phone services in five districts in Jammu - Doda, Kishtwar, Ramban, Rajouri and Poonch have been restored according to news agency ANI.