Airing your personal thoughts on social media can get one into trouble and IAS officer in Madhya Pradesh has learnt this the hard way.
IAS officer Niyaz Khan, who is deputy secretary with the Madhya Pradesh Public Works Department, is facing heat from his seniors over his tweets on the recently released movie The Kashmir Files.
We take a look at what is this controversy all about and why the IAS officer is facing the impending threat of a showcause notice from the Madhya Pradesh government.
Khan’s tweet storm
During the course of last week, the 50-year-old IAS officer courted controversy after watching the recently-released movie The Kashmir Files, directed by Vivek Agnihotri.
He tweeted on 18 March that the makers of The Kashmir Files should also make a film on the “killings of a large number of Muslims across several states” in India. In his tweet, he goes on to write that members of this minority community are “not insects, but citizens of the country”.
Kashmir File shows the pain of Brahmins. They should be allowed to live safely in Kashmir with all honour. The producer must also make a movie to show the killings of Large number of Muslims across several states. Muslims are not insects but human beings and citizens of country
— Niyaz Khan (@saifasa) March 18, 2022
That wasn’t the end of the controversy. Khan then went on to add that he was thinking about writing a book on the “massacre of Muslims on different occasions” so that the “suffering of minorities could be brought before Indians”.
Thinking to write a book to show the massacre of Muslims on different occasions so that a movie like Kashmir Files could be produced by some producer, so that, the pain and suffering of minorities could be brought before Indians
— Niyaz Khan (@saifasa) March 18, 2022
In another statement he appealed to The Kashmir Files makers to transfer all earnings from the movie for the education of the children of Kashmiri Pandits and construction of homes for them in Kashmir.
News agency IANS reports that controversy is not new to Niyaz Khan, who has written seven novels. He has been embroiled in controversies either due to his thoughts on various subjects or for his literary subjects.
He has written seven novels titled — Destiny of Drug, Love Demands Blood, Talaq, My Untold Story of Ashram, Once I Was Blackman and Be Ready to Die.
Earlier, he had claimed that his novel Love Demands Blood is based on the love story of gangster Abu Salem and his girlfriend Bollywood actress Monica Bedi.
Vivek Agnihotri reacts
Niyaz Khan’s recent tweets gained more traction when Vivek took note and sought an appointment with Khan for “exchanging ideas”.
Agnihotri’s tweets came in response to Khan’s request that the former donate all of the film’s earnings for the education of Brahmin children in Kashmir.
Vivek replied, “Sir Niyaz Khaan Sahab, Bhopal aa raha hoon 25th ko (I’m coming to Bhopal on the 25th). Please give an appointment so we can meet and exchange ideas how we can help and how you can help with the royalty of your books and your power as an IAS officer."
Sir Niyaz Khaan Sahab, Bhopal aa raha hoon 25th ko. Please give an appointment so we can meet and exchange ideas how we can help and how you can help with the royalty of your books and your power as an IAS officer. https://t.co/9P3oif8nfL
— Vivek Ranjan Agnihotri (@vivekagnihotri) March 20, 2022
Facing government ire
Khan’s tweets have attracted attention of the Madhya Pradesh government, with state minister Vishwas Sarang saying the officer’s tweets are “firqaparast” (sectarian) and he should be removed from his post of the deputy secretary.
Also, the Madhya Pradesh administration has announced that they would issue a showcause notice to Khan.
Home Minister Narottam Mishra told reporters, "I have seen Khan's tweets. This is a serious issue... he is crossing and violating the lakshman rekha (limit) set for (government) officials... the state government will issue a showcause notice to him and seek his reply."
Following the administration’s anger directed at him, Khan alleged that he was being targeted for his religious identity, according to a report in The Quint.
"I have been a victim of my name, especially my surname Khan. As soon as they hear my name, they label me as a Muslim — and it doesn't matter that I am as secular as anyone can be," Khan said.
In The Quint report, he added that the BJP didn’t like him because of his name. “In the last 14-15 years, I have been transferred nearly 20 times, just because of my surname. I have suffered a lot not because my surname is bad or wrong, but because they hate this name.”
With inputs from agencies