Karnataka IAS officer resigns for ‘ethical’ reasons, stirs political storm

Sasikanth Senthil (File photo: ANI)

Bengaluru: S. Sasikanth Senthil, an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer and Deputy Commissioner of Dakshina Kannada district in Karnataka on Friday, resigned from his post citing that he could no longer continue in office when the “fundamental building blocks of democracy were being compromised in an unprecedented manner”.

Senthil is a 2009 batch Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer.

“I have taken this decision as I feel that it is unethical for me to continue as a civil servant in the government when fundamental building blocks of our diverse democracy are being compromised in an unprecedented manner,” he said in his resignation letter that has been widely circulated on social media platforms.

It is unclear who the IAS officer is targeting in his resignation but adds that he strongly feels that the coming days would present “extremely difficult challenges to the basic fabric of our nation”.

At least two people from the Dakshina Kannada DC office and one legislator from the district confirmed the contents of the letter. However, Senthil could not be reached for comment. He is currently in Tamil Nadu, according to the legislator cited above. This copy will be updated when he does respond.

Senthil’s resignation has stirred up a storm across the country with opposition leaders taking turns to imply that it was getting harder for honest officials work in the current regime under Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA).

“In such situations, what else will such an honest official do,” former Karnataka chief minister H.D.Kumaraswamy said on Friday.

Senthil’s resignation comes shortly after Kannan Gopinathan, another IAS official, resigned last month after he felt strongly against the restrictions placed on the people of Jammu and Kashmir before and after Article 370 was revoked.

“After taking the decision on Kashmir, nearly 20 days have passed and even now, the people there are not allowed to react or respond to it and that is not acceptable in a democratic setup. Personally, I could not accept it and continue in the service during such a time,” Kannan Gopinanthan had told PTI in an earlier interview.

Shah Faesal, an IAS official from Jammu and Kashmir resigned in January this year, to protest against the unabated killings in the region and lack of sincere efforts by the Centre. He has since formed the J&K People’s Movement and has been highly critical of the centre’s move in Jammu & Kashmir.

Senthil is the latest addition to this list of a growing tribe of ‘honest’ government officials who have found it hard to work under the current regime that has been accused of stifling human rights, undermining the constitution and democracy.

“Sign of the times..as right thinking individuals who believe in democracy and freedom are expressing their frustration in the most telling manner possible..with dignity,” Dinesh Gundu Rao, state president of the Congress posted on Twitter.

Though it remains unclear who the officer was targeting in his letter.

“I also feel strongly that the 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. It simply cannot be business as usual anymore,” Senthil wrote in his resignation letter.

The 40-year-old IAS official was the topper from Tamil Nadu and secured the ninth spot across the country. He has served as assistant commissioner in Ballari for about three years from 2009 and as Shivamogga Zilla Panchayat among other roles.