The Karnataka government on Friday issued a show cause notice to an IAS officer over his recent tweet praising Tablighi Jamaat members who have recovered from COVID-19 for donating plasma for treatment of other patients.
"More than 300 Tablighi Heroes are donating their plasma to serve the country in New Delhi only. What about? #Godi Media? They will not show the works of humanity done by these heroes," Mohammad Mohsin, currently serving as a secretary in the Backward Class Welfare Department, said in a now deleted tweet on April 27.
A 1996 batch IAS officer from Karnataka cadre hailing from Bihar, he was also in the news last year after the Election Commission suspended him for trying to inspect Prime Minister Narendra Modi's helicopter during his visit to Odisha in April. Moshin was deployed as a poll observer.
Confirming that he has received the show cause notice, Mohsin told TNM that he will be sending a reply as per the rules, shortly.
The show cause notice seems to have been issued to the officer, presumably for using â€˜godi mediaâ€™, a phrase used to refer to pro-government and pro-PM Modi media coverage.
"The adverse coverage this tweet has got in the media has been taken note of seriously by the government, given the serious nature of COVID-19 and the sensitivities involved," the notice stated.
The government has sought a written explanation from the officer within five days for violating the All India Services (Conduct) Rules, 1968. It warned of action against Mohsin as per the All India Services (Discipline and Appeal) Rules, 1969 if he fails to submit his reply before the deadline.
A senior state official said the action of sending a show cause notice showed that Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa is not willing to compromise on any remarks by officials which have communal overtones.
"The Karnataka government has made it clear that it would not hesitate to act even against powerful functionaries if their actions are damaging to the harmony in the state at a time when all are united in fighting COVID-19," a senior state bureaucrat told PTI.
The Tablighi Jamaat was in news after thousands of its members who attended a congregation in south Delhi's Nizamuddin area in March, tested positive for COVID-19.
After attending the event, the group's members happened to travel to various parts of the country, resulting in widespread transmission.