Young IAS officer Kannan Gopinathan grabbed headlines in September 2018 for his selfless work during the Kerala floods. The officer who was the then District Collector of the Union Territory Dadra and Nagar Haveli had rushed to Kerala to help at a relief collection centre and had toiled without telling anyone that he was a District Collector. His identity became known only after another officer recognised him.
A year later, the 2012 batch AGMUT cadre IAS officer who is currently in charge as secretary of power, urban development and agriculture departments in the Dadra and Nagar Haveli administration has submitted his resignation from the service.
In a letter to the Home Secretary on August 21, Kannan has said that he wishes to be relieved from the Indian Administrative Service..
"I want my freedom of expression intact. I joined the services believing I can give voice to others, but here I am unable to use my own voice. My resignation will give me my freedom of expression back," Kannan Gopinathan told TNM.
"I know this won't make any impact, it would be news for half a day only. But I wanted to do it nevertheless. I wanted to act as per my conscience," he added.
According to sources, the bureaucrat put in his papers as he felt that he could not express his thoughts freely anymore and the suspension of fundamental rights of an entire population (Kashmir) and the complete lack of response from the country as if it is happening in another distant country or in another era disappointed him.
The officer's tweets leading up to his resignation also hints at the reasons given by sources for his resignation.
A tweet put out by him on August 20 read, “I once thought that being in civil services meant an opportunity to expand rights and freedoms of fellow citizens!”
On August 23, he quoted a link which spoke about the economy of Hong Kong, which has been seeing citizen-led protests against the extradition bill. Citing the importance of freedom and democracy, Kannan wrote “But Hongkong seems to understand their wealth is worth nothing if unaccompanied by freedom & democracy!”
During the 2018 floods, the bureaucrat came to Kerala and quietly began helping by loading and unloading material at relief camps in the state. He worked discreetly for 8 days until Ernakulam district collector YS Safirulla recognised the 32-year old IAS officer.
Kannan has stayed back to help after he arrived in Kerala on official duty to hand over a cheque from the Dadra and Nagar Haveli administration to the Kerala Chief Minister’s distress relief fund.
On being recognised, the officer left as quietly as he had arrived. But the incident soon became viral on social media.
After arriving at the state capital of Thiruvananthapuram, Kannan had visited relief camps near Chengannur, one of the worst affected areas in Kerala’s Alappuzha.