Understanding responsibilities

The whole administration is about two things- Respect and Justice

Open Letter to President, Kashmir Administrative Officers Association.

Anyways, whatever your agenda and guiding force to unite, I am here to have a positive interaction with you regarding recent incidents of unpleasant confrontation between officers of your fraternity and staff of other departments

It is a privilege to converse with the leader of an elite group of officers of the state administration. Many people out of malice don’t recognize your organization with a premise that there is no provision of trade unionism with state’s gazetted services. whatever the rules say, I personally acknowledge every association where several likeminded people with common and justified agenda unite to strive for their cause. So, your organization fits well with my idea of an association, that too when the overall situation of our everyday life is like famous Pakistani poet Ahmad Faraz’s couplet, “Mera Us Sheher-E-Adawat Mein Basera Hai Jahan, Log Sajdon Mein Bhi Logon Ka Bura Sochtay Hain…!”.

Anyways, whatever your agenda and guiding force to unite, I am here to have a positive interaction with you regarding recent incidents of unpleasant confrontation between officers of your fraternity and staff of other departments. And more so your argument with DAK (Doctors Association Kashmir) prompted me to interact with you.  Certainly, officers of your association particularly those heading administrative units inside the districts under ‘single-line’ administrative setup have absolute powers and huge responsibilities to run the administration and are extra accountable in all respects. Any shortfall on their part will definitely have disciplinary riders from the supervisory executive system and wrath of political leadership and will obviously put the general public in trouble. Having said that it will be fair to remind every officer and official working on behalf of the government, we claim and boastfully claim that we are in a democracy—a system where everyone is to be treated at par. The behavior of one of your colleagues with a medical officer during due discharge of his official duty was unbecoming of a high-ranking administrator vested with magisterial powers. The concerned medical officer could have been wrong, negligent or may be irresponsible and was unquestionably set right in the best interest of the administration and the public interest, but not in a manner where it looks like a ‘summary trial’! It was social media that played spoilsport for the SDM and exposed his overenthusiasm regarding administrative powers enjoyed by him, otherwise, the matter would have died down with a blot on the system of correct governance.

The latest incident of SDM Kokarnag allegedly manhandling and abusing a teacher too does not augur well for the administration, and your association. If reports are true the esteemed teacher was subjected to such humiliation that it reminds of the cruel exploitative autocratic era. Even under the influence of sweeping administrative powers, SDM was supposed to listen to the teacher and again if he too was at fault and required disciplining, the best and the only way was to subject him to the application of service conduct rules which are surely above and beyond the precincts of single-line administration.

Sir, I am not generalizing the outcome of these two unfortunate incidents and trying to cast aspersions on working of the whole fraternity of the KAS officers who are otherwise the backbone of state’s administration and as sons of the soil work as a valuable interface between the public and the administration. But, as a conscious citizen of this state, I wish to draw your kind attention towards your responsibilities and behavior with fellow officers and officials in other departments and particularly the people of this state. Role of your fraternity in running a justified administration under extreme situations, particularly during last two decades of turmoil cannot be brushed aside while weighing your contribution towards the society. However, some grey patches created by few out of an obsession with their unrestrained powers has created a situation of acrimony within the administration. We are aware of the political pressure and tantrums that always hang over the heads of your fraternity but that does not justify the aggression against the fellow officers and officials within the administration. I wish your association outside the mandate of looking for the interests of your members will introspect and make your members be at ease and at peace with your unchecked powers. Common people wish that your association make every member of your association to understand their responsibilities towards the society in addition to the duties they are paid for. We all wish your association facilitates an administration where respect and justice will be the hallmark of every member of your association.