Chennai: Hindu Munnani (Hindu Front) today welcomed the directive issued by Tamil Nadu government asking a controversial IAS officer to desist from carrying out “preaching and propagating” activities. In a letter last week, Chief Secretary K Gnanadesikan had told IAS officer C Umashankar that it had come to the government’s notice that he was to take part in ‘preaching and propagating activities’ in Tirunelveli, Thoothukudi and Kanniyakumari districts from January 24 to January 26 “which are likely to cause communal disharmony and disturbance to public order.”
Umashankar cancelled his tour following the top official’s direction that he should not “indulge in such activities which are unbecoming of a member of the service”. He was also warned of “appropriate action” under relevant provisions of All India Services (conduct) Rules, besides being chided for “indulging in activities” on January 16 in Kanyakumari “which created disturbance to public order” and resulted in police registering two cases. Umashankar, who says he is Hindu officially, but Christian by faith, said the directive was against his fundamental rights and that he would move the court against it.
Reacting to the episode, Hindu Munnani founder Rama Gopalan said his organisation had often ‘condemned’ Umashankar for “continuously” engaging in “preaching and propagating” a particular denomination of the Christian faith and that it had filed a complaint with the government on this matter. His action was contradictory to his service rules, he said in a statement.
Umashankar, presently Commissioner for Disciplinary Proceedings, had brought to light the Cremation Shed scam case in the 1991-96 AIADMK government, which resulted in convictionof then Minister C Selvaganapathy, who later joined DMK and became a Rajya Sabha member. He had to lose his Upper House membership as a result of his conviction. Further, during the previous DMK regime, Umashankar was appointed Head of Arasu Cable TV in wake of the service provider’s launch following a tiff between party president and then Chief Minister M Karunanidhi and his grandnephews, the Maran brothers. They had later patched up.
A Dalit officer, Umashankar had courted controversy when doubts were raised about the genuineness of his caste certificate and was suspended pending enquiry before it was revoked.
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