'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 set up'
'The citizens of a democratic country has the right to react or respond to a decision taken by the government'
Days after resigning, IAS officer Kannan Gopinathan, who claimed he quit as he wanted to express his views against the "denial of freedom of expression" in Kashmir, on Sunday said people of the Valley have to be convinced on the Article 370 decision, but it cannot be done by not allowing them to express their views.
The 32-year-old officer of 2012 batch came into limelight after he hid his identity to join volunteers in relief work during the 2018 Kerala floods
Gopinathan, who was secretary, power department, of the Union Territories of Daman and Diu, and Dadra and Nagar Haveli, submitted his resignation last Wednesday.
His resignation made no mention of the Kashmir issue.
"I want to exercise my freedom of expression but it is not possible while I am in the service. There are certain rules and regulations in that," he said on Sunday.
Gopinathan, who hails from Kottayam district of Kerala, said that to abrogate Article 370 "is the right of an elected government", but in a democracy the people have the right to respond to such decisions.
"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 set up. Personally, I could not accept it and continue in the service during such a time," he said.
"This is not something I can accept in my country. I know that my acceptance doesn't make any difference. But I wanted to express that this is not correct. We should allow them their freedom of expression. If they don't like it we can try to convince them. We don't convince by locking them up and not allowing them to express their views," he said.
He said the people should be allowed freedom of expression.
"To abrogate Article 370 is the right of an elected government and to right to decide whether it is right or not is vested in the Supreme Court. As a bureaucrat I have limitations. But in a democracy, people have the right to respond against such decisions. The citizens of a democratic country has the right to react or respond to a decision taken by the government," Gopinathan said.
He said the resignation was a decision he took out of a very strong feeling that he could not accept the kind of denial of right to the people there.
He said he never wanted to say anything publicly until his resignation was accepted but the word leaked from some social media group where he had shared his views and news of resignation.
"Maybe I am wrong. My perception of the situation might be wrong. My conviction could be wrong. But I just know that this is my perception and this is my conviction and I would like to be vocal and express my views on my conviction," he said.
Gopinathan had in 2018 joined volunteers at three places in flood-hit Kerala without revealing that he was an IAS officer. Later when he was carrying sacks of materials on his back, Ernakulam Collector and the sub-collector recognised himit.
A day after his resignation, when PTI contacted him in Silvassa, the IAS officer had said he resigned as he was not happy with the Indian governance system.
"I Kannan G, IAS officer of 2012 batch, AGMUT Cadre, hereby submit my letter of resignation from the Indian Administrative Service. I humbly request you to kindly accept my resignation and relive me," read his resignation letter.
Gopinathan had said he tried to change the system but has come to the conclusion that it cannot be changed.
An electrical engineer from the Birla Institute of Technology, Mesra, he worked as a design engineer with a private firm before entering the Indian Administrative Service.