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

Whistle-blowing IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt's wife suspects foul play after truck hits her car

By Nachiketa Desai*
Paranoia has seized Shweta Bhatt, wife of suspended Indian Police Service (IPS) officer Sanjiv Bhatt, after the car she was driving was rammed in broad day light. According to Shweta Bhatt, it was beacon light-flashing truck without registration number plate. The incident took place on January 7, just a day ahead of the Gujarat High Court was scheduled to take up the bail application of Sanjiv Bhatt, arrested last year for "involvement" in a 23-year-old case.

Call to support IIM-Bangalore professor, censured for seeking action against Uniliver

Counterview Desk
Sections of the Indian Institute of Managements (IIMs) across India have strongly reacted to the decision to censure Dr Deepak Malghan, a faulty at IIM-Bangalore. Prabhir Vishnu Poruthiyil, who is faculty at IIM-Tiruchirapalli, has sought wider solidarity with Dr Malghan, saying, "The administration has censured Deepak for merely suggesting a meaningful action against Hindustan Unilever for their abysmal environmental record" by “disinviting” it for campus placement.

Morari Bapu, who has installed new statues of Ram, Laxman, Hanuman without weapons

By Sandeep Pandey*
A saint is one who can give some inner peace by his/her voice. This will happen only when s(he) will talk about love and harmony. Morari Bapu is one saint who has been conveying the message of love, peace, harmony, fraternity, etc. Today when a number of saffron clad figures with aggressive posture, spewing venom, fanning hatred to polarise voters are at the forefront of politics of Hindutva it is a relief to see Morari Bapu in a different mould.

99% MGNREGA funds "exhausted", Govt of India makes no additional sanctions: Study

Counterview Desk
A letter, addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and prepared by senior activists led by Aruna Roy on behalf of the Peoples’ Action for Employment Guarantee (PAEG), and signed, among others, by 80 members of Parliament, has regretted that, despite repeated public statements by his government promising employment and job creation that will boost the country’s growth, the country’s only employment guarantee programme, Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), “is being systematically undermined.”

Nuclear reactors sought from French giant "not safe": Letter to Modi on Jaitapur project

Counterview Desk
Amidst reports that the French nuclear giant EDF has submitted a “techno-commercial offer” for the world’s largest nuclear power park proposed in Maharashtra’s Jaitapur nuclear power park in Jaitapur on the Maharashtra coast, Dr EAS Sarma, India’s former Union Secretary in the Minister of Power, and an eminent voice in the civil society, has written an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who also heads Department of Atomic Energy (DAE),  protesting the move.

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

Kaiga NPP expansion: Karnataka to get just 400 MW, but lose thick forest, fresh water

Counterview Desk
In an open letter to the chairman and members of the Atomic energy Commission (AEC) on the issue of Kaiga nuclear power plant (NPP) expansion plan in Karnataka, Shankar Sharma, well-known power policy analyst, has argued that that in case of expansion, the site will face “exponential increase in radiation emission risks”, underlining, “Nuclear safety experts identify such a scenario as enhanced risk for NPPs with multiple reactors and shared technical facilities."
Sharma says the questions that also be asked whether Karnataka should lose more than 54 hectares of thick forests and about 152,304 cubic meters of fresh water per day from Kali river for a meager benefit of 400 MW from the Kaiga NPP, for which “there are many benign alternative options available for the state at much lower overall costs to the state.”
Text of the letter: This has reference to the public hearing under the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Rule 2006 of Ministry of Environment, Fore…

Uttarakhand High Court: Biodiversity boards can impose fees on Ramdev's Divya Pharmacy

By Mridhu Tandon
In a significant decision, the Uttarakhand High Court on December 21, 2018 has dismissed the writ petition filed by Divya Pharmacy founded by Baba Ramdev and Acharya Balakrishnan, challenging the demand of the Uttarakhand Biodiversity Board (UBB) imposing fees under the provisions of the Fair and Equitable Benefit Sharing (FEBS).

Modi becoming Prime Minister now appears to be an "accident" to the people of India

By Sandeep Pandey*
Anupam Kher's film 'Accidental Prime Minister' has targeted Dr Manmohan Singh who served for two terms and may be again acceptable for the job if his party regains power. But his tormentor Narendra Modi seems to be out of breath even before his first term is over. Disillusionment with him is so widespread and deep that people of India may not bear with him for another term. As the general elections approach again the difference between the two needs to be examined.

Story of a foot soldier of Gujarat riots coming from a vulnerable community, Chharas

By Rajiv Shah
He is one of the more prominent "foot soldiers" of the 2002 Gujarat riots. Suresh Jadeja, alias Langdo, alias Richard, is indeed a well-known name in the Naroda Patiya massacre case, in which 97 persons were killed on February 28, 2002, the first day of the riots that shook the nation. Ordinarily, such a person should have been subjected to sociological scrutiny. What have here is a keen journalistic account, with clear political-ideological overtone.