Uttar Pradesh bureaucrat under fire for criticising Dalit icons

February 19th, 2008 - 3:44 pm ICT by admin  

Lucknow, Feb 19 (IANS) An Uttar Pradesh bureaucrat who authored a controversial book called “Jaatiraj” (the rule of castes) may face action under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act for allegedly making derogatory remarks against Dalit icons, an official said Tuesday. Laxmi Kant Shukla has been suspended from the post of special secretary to the state government’s Department of Charitable Institutions and Religious Endowments.

In his self-published book about the caste system that was written without the government’s permission, Shukla had made certain remarks about Dalit icons - Jyotiba Phule, Chattrapati Shahuji Maharj, Ramaswqamy Periyar and Babadsaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar.

While condemning caste-based politics in the country, Shukla also made some observations about the chief minister. He wrote: “Mayawati dalit ki nahi, daulat ki beti hain.” (Mayawati is not a Dalit’s daughter but a daughter of wealth).

The government has termed several portions of the book as vicious and one chapter in particular, “Badle Ki Aag”, as “venomous”.

“No government official is allowed to undertake any kind of writing or publication without the express permission of the government,” said Principal Appointments Secretary J.S. Deepak.

He added: “Shukla had gone a step further by making observations that could be potentially lethal to vitiate social harmony and therefore violated certain provisions of the Uttar Pradesh Servants Conduct Rules, 1956.”

Shukla’s book first came into focus earlier this month, following which the appointments department sought his explanation along with three copies of the book Feb 8.

Shukla claims he could not respond to the appointments department’s letter as he was on leave till Feb 12. He was suspended on the same day.

Shukla has been asked to explain the basis of his observations against the Dalit icons. The government has ordered a disciplinary inquiry against him and entrusted the probe to Lucknow Divisional Commissioner Vijay Shankar Pandey.

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