Jharkhand yet to act on IAS officer’s reply on FB post

Ranchi, Dec 7 (IANS) The Jharkhand government is yet to decide on whether to act against a senior tribal IAS officer over her Facebook post even though she has submitted her reply to a show-cause notice.

The officer had indirectly questioned Chief Minister Raghubar Das over the raising of the religious conversion issue at an official programme.

The Personnel Department served a show-cause notice to Panchayati Raj Secretary Vandana Dadel, a 1996 batch officer, on October 24 and sought a reply within 15 days.

Dadel submitted her reply, but the government has since neither taken any action against her nor exonerated her of the charges.

“We received her reply. The file has been moved; the decision will now be taken at the Chief Secretary and Chief Minister levels,” a Personnel Department official told IANS.

Departmental sources said Dadel has justified her Facebook post in her reply and asserted that the freedom of speech and expression is a constitutional right.

In her Facebook post in Hindi, Dadel wrote: “A question arises in the mind when questions are raised during an official programme about the religion of tribals, and on religious conversion.

“Does a tribal has no right to choose a religion of his/her choice with respect. Why all of a sudden have people started thinking about the religion of tribals? The fact is that society is suffering from many other serious issues like malnutrition, illiteracy, unemployment.”

Dadel’s remarks came on October 20 when she had shared the dais with Chief Minister Raghubar Das at an official programme in Dumka district.

Das had used the official platform to raise the religious conversion issue and threatened punishment to those involved in conversions.

Das, heading a BJP-led alliance government, had claimed that those involved in conversions of tribals were inciting protests against the Jharkhand government’s move to amend the Chhota Nagpur Tenancy Act and Santhal Pargana Tenancy Act.

The Chief Minister’s statement had not gone down well with the Christian community.

Das raised the conversion issue days after a rally held to protest against amendments to the two land Acts originally meant to protect the rights of the tribal and indigenous people.

After the controversy over the IAS officer’s Facebook comments, the Chief Minister stopped making such remarks.