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Telangana CMO secretary eyeing politics?

Telangana CMO secretary eyeing politics?

The unexpected comment made by senior Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer Smita Sabharwal, who is presently a secretary to Telangana chief minister K Chandrashekar Rao in the chief minister’s office (CMO), on the release of 11 convicts in the infamous Bilkis Bano gang rape incident during the 2002 Gujarat riots, kicked up a debate in the media circles.

Smita Sabharwal took to social media and said that she read the news in disbelief.

"As a woman and a civil servant, I sit in disbelief on reading the news on the Bilkis Bano case,” she said.

She went on to add: “We cannot snuff out her right to breathe free without fear again and call ourselves a free nation #JusticeForBilkisBano.”

She also posted the statement released by Bilkis Bano pleading with the Gujarat government to ensure her safety.

Smitha is the first serving IAS officer to make the comments against the release of the convicts by the Bharatiya Janata Party government in Gujarat in connection with the gang rape of Bilkis Bano and murder of her family members by the BJP activists in 2002.

Naturally, it triggered a debate in bureaucratic and political circles as whether a serving IAS officer can make such comments against the judgement or a political system.

In a way, she has castigated the BJP as a whole.

Interestingly, Smitha posted the tweet hours after Telangana Rashtra Samithi working president and state IT minister K T Rama Rao and his sister and MLC K Kavitha posted the messages on their twitter handles condemning the release of convicts in Bilkis Bano case.

KTR tweeted, asking Prime Minister Narendra Modi to revoke the Gujarat government's decision to release the 11 convicts.

“If you had really meant what you spoke about respecting women, I urge you to intervene and rescind the Gujarat government’s order,’’ he said.

Kavitha also issued a statement saying the decision to release the culprits of heinous crimes like rape and murder on the auspicious occasion of Independence Day has tarnished the divinity of the day. 

“The BJP government in Gujarat has displayed insensitivity by releasing the rapists of the then five-month pregnant Bilkis Bano and the murder of her 3-year-old child. This is not only against the law and an in, but stands against humanity.

“Being a woman I can feel the pain and fear experienced by Bilkis Bano,” she said.

This led to the talk as to whether Smitha had made the statement knowing fully well that she might be subject to disciplinary action by the Centre.

“She is aware of the repercussions for making such statements condemning the decision of another state government,” an analyst said.

Maybe, she is ready to face the consequences, as she might be having political plans. She must be eyeing entering politics in Telangana sooner or later, the analyst observed.

Alternatively, Smitha wants to convey the message to her colleagues in bureaucracy that they should not keep silence when such outrageous incidents happen in the country.

“She has not accused any party or the Centre, but only expressed her anguish. There might not be any disciplinary action,” another observer said.


Tags: CM KCR Smita Sabharwal