Skip to main content

Flutter in Assam around whether young officer's resignation is linked to state public service examination scam

By Nava Thakuria*
The mainstream media in Assam, as in India, faces enormous credibility crisis, but has it turned such low that a young state civil service officer could outrightly slam the ‘men in the media’ with the help of a social media post? Questions are being asked whether this is the beginning of the end of media, particularly the free-to-air news channels in Assam.
It all began with a video statement being posted in Facebook by Ramanuj Hazarika, a 2015 batch Assam civil service officer, who declared that he had lost his respect for “Assamese media” and claimed that he is “not among those who will keep quiet” and digest the media’s slander silently.
Hazarika’s video was in response to a small news item that Hazarika, then election officer and executive magistrate of Dhemaji district in eastern Assam, had resigned. The news, mostly telecast by local (read Assamese) television channels, added that Hazarika had decided to prepare for the next Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) examinations.
Till this point it was fine. But one or two news channels said that Hazarika’s resignation at the time of astounding ‘cash for job’ scam under Assam Public Service Commission (APSC) run examinations is important, as it happened when over 25 young Assam Civil Service (ACS), Assam Police Service (APS) and few allied service officers were in government custody for probing their selection processes.
An ACS officer can reign and prepare for a better opportunity by virtue of his democratic rights in the country. When Hazarika resigned on November 23, 2017, it could have been a simple news item for media outlets. But the speculation raised by a section of television reporters made the issue murkier, and suspicion grew if Hazarika had tried to escape the anti-corruption police actions.
Speculations cropped up primarily for two reasons. First, the public opinion in Assam today is in favour of scanning all the answer-scripts of APSC run examinations under the chairmanship of Rakesh Kumar Paul (who is also facing trials after arrest) since 2015. Secondly, one may generously question why an ACS officer should resign from his job for preparing the UPSC examinations (meaning that he could have applied for a longer leave).
Hundreds of Assam government officials were arrested on corruption charges soon after the BJP-led government took power at Dispur by May 2016 under the leadership of Sarbananda Sonowal, who maintains in his repeated public statements that the authority would not compromise with any kind of corruptions. Even Hazarika also supported the crusade against corruption and insisted on a free and fair investigation process to unearth the truth in the APSC scam.
In his Facebook statement, Hazarika even proposed for a special investigation team (SIT) under the supervision of the Supreme Court to proceed further on identifying the corrupt practices. He also did not forget to mention about his bright academic career since his childhood in his statement. According to his own declaration, Hazarika was nurtured by his mother (a teacher by profession) after his father’s untimely demise and passed the 10+2 standard examinations with the first ten positions in the state. He cleared the graduation in Political Science from Hindu College, Delhi University, and completed his Master’s and M Phil from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.
Expressing angers over the media, Hazarika stated that he would approach the court against the speculative and defamatory news items soon after consultations with his friends from the legal fraternity. He proclaimed that he had no respect for the media because of cheap contents that turned the media outlets into circus groups. He even dared to prove him guilty (in APSC cash for job scam). Nevertheless, he asserted that he would not leave the state to evade police action.
“There is nothing unusual in resigning from a job anytime and hence the local media should have reported the matter judiciously,” said Rupam Barua, a senior journalist and president of Journalists’ Forum Assam. He however admitted that the reaction of Hazarika over the development was voluminous.
Appreciating Hazarika for his brave statement, Barua pointed out that a meritorious (read carrying good marks in examinations) certificate does not always ensure that the particular individual remains honest all along his/her life or be a good human being to contribute substantially for the society and the nation. Only the combination of both merit and honesty makes a man all time great, affirmed Barua.
Meanwhile, urging the news channels to restrain over reporting on sensitive issues, the Electronics Media Forum, Assam, expressed dismay at the way Hazarika slammed the media as a whole. The forum in a statement argued that the investigation process to identify all the tainted state civil service officers is still on and hence he ‘should wait for the logical (legal) conclusion of APSC cash for job scam’ before launching a crusade against the media.
---
*Guwahati-based journalist and media analyst

Comments

TRENDING

India under Modi among top 10 autocratizing nations, on verge of 'losing' democracy status

By Rajiv Shah
A new report, prepared by a top Swedish institute studying liberal democracy, has observed that there has been a sharp “dive in press freedom along with increasing repression of civil society in India associated with the current Hindu-nationalist regime of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.” The report places India among the top 10 countries that “have autocratized the most”. Other countries that have been identified for rolling towards autocracy are -- Hungary, Turkey, Poland, Serbia, Brazil, Mali, Thailand, Nicaragua and Zambia.

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam*
RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Border conflict? RBI nod India's 'brotherly' help to China internationalise its currency

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*
In the middle of a global pandemic, China started an unprovoked border conflict with India. It unraveled trust deficit and ties between the two neighbours. As thousands of Chinese troops tried occupying Indian territory, the Narendra Modi-led BJP government directs the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to allow the Bank of China to start regular banking services in India. The Bank of China will now operate in India like any other commercial banks.

RSS supremo Deoras 'supported' Emergency, but Indira, Sanjay Gandhi 'didn't respond'

By Shamsul Islam*
National Emergency was imposed on the country by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on June 25-26, 1975, and it lasted for 19 months. This period is considered as ''dark times' for Indian democratic polity. Indira Gandhi claimed that due to Jaiprakash Narayan's call to the armed forces to disobey the 'illegal' orders of Congress rulers had created a situation of anarchy and there was danger to the existence of Indian Republic so there was no alternative but to impose Emergency under article 352 of the Constitution.

Clean chit to British rulers, Muslim League? Karnataka to have Veer Savarkar flyovers

By Shamsul Islam*
The BJP government of Karnataka led by BS Yediyurappa is going to honour Hindutva icon VD Savarkar by naming two of the newly built major flyovers in Bangalore and Mangalore after him. There was a huge uproar against this decision of the RSS-BJP government as many pro-Kannada organisations with opposition parties and liberal-secular organizations questioned the logic to ignore so many freedom fighters, social reformers and others from within the state.

Hurried nod to Western Ghat projects: 16 lakh Goans' water security 'jeopardised'

Counterview Desk
Taking strong exception to "virtual clearances" to eco-sensitive projects in the Western Ghats, the National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) in a statement has said urged for a review of the four-lane highway, 400 KV transmission line and double tracking of the railway line through the Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary and Mollem National Park in Goa.

Disturbing signal? Reliance 'shifting focus' away from Indian petrochemical sector

By NS Venkataraman*
Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), a large Indian company, has expanded and grown in a spectacular manner during the last few decades, like of which no industrial group in India has performed before. RIL is now involved in multi various activities relating to petroleum refineries, petrochemicals, oil and gas exploration, coal bed methane, life sciences, retail business, communication network, (Jio platform) media/entertainment etc.

Letter to friends, mentors: Coming together of class, communal, corona viruses 'scary'

By Prof (Dr) Mansee Bal Bhargava*
COVID greetings from Ahmedabad to dear mentors and friends from around the world…
I hope you are keeping well and taking care of yourself besides caring for the people around you. I’m writing to learn how is the science and the society coping with the prevention and cure of the pandemic. I’m also writing to share the state of the corona virus that is further complicated with the long-standing class and communal viruses.

Case for nationalising India's healthcare system amidst 'strong' private control

Counterview Desk
A draft discussion note, prepared by Dr Maya Valecha, a Gujarat-based gynecologist and activist, sent to the People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) as also a large number of activists, academics and professionals as an email alert, is all set to create a flutter among policy experts for its strong insistence on nationalizing India’s healthcare system.