Six FIRs filed by UP Police against retired IAS officer for 'defaming' Yogi and his Government
Let the state government tell me what they want me to do, asks the retired IAS officer Surya Pratap Singh. ' Do they want me to leave the state or do they want me to keep quiet ?" he wonders aloud
There are six FIRs registered by Uttar Pradesh Police against retired IAS officer Surya Pratap Singh. He is charged with spreading fake news to defame the state government. And every time an FIR is filed, policemen turn up at his doorstep to interrogate him and ask for proof of what he stated on social media.
His barbs are often stinging. He recently tweeted, “In the last four years the state government has doubled our income but we remained oblivious.”
In desperation Singh this week posted a video and asked what the state government wanted him to do. “Let them tell me whether they want me to leave the state or if they want me to stop raising my voice,” he said, pointing out that FIRs had been filed against him for drawing attention to shortages of oxygen and medicine in the state, to dead bodies floating in the Ganges and for drawing attention to employees of a private company hired to tweet for the chief minister and the state government being given accreditation as journalists.
The latest FIR – sixth in the series – was filed against him by Kalyanpur police in Kanpur for sharing an audio on his Twitter account, which has 1.58 lakh followers, in which two unidentified people are heard demanding money to support the chief minister.
The FIR was lodged under Section 505 of the IPC on the complaint of one Atul Kushwaha who claimed that Singh along with two others had wilfully tried to tarnish his and the chief minister’s name. The IPC Section provides for imprisonment up to three years or fine or both for circulating reports, statements or rumour with the intent to incite others.
SP to his friends, in UP Singh is hailed as a “Rock star of Twitter” for his sharp tweets that often drip with sarcasm. His tweets are now re-tweeted by thousands and people who matter sit back and take note of every word that he sends out. He is a marked man.
“I am being targeted because I am giving voice to the common man. I am talking about deaths of the people without medical care, paucity of beds and oxygen in hospitals and the way dead bodies are being thrown in the rivers,” he claims.
“I never attacked the CM personally. I never used foul language against him or for that matter against any other person. My endeavour is to improve the system and I am raising questions so that the government can find suitable solutions,” he explains.
“Sometimes, the policemen treat me as a terrorist. The cops speak to me in such a language as if I am the top criminal in the state,” he adds. FIRs are not the only way he is being harassed. He retired from the IAS in 2017 but full pension is still denied to him. He is receiving provisional pension as his full pension has not been finalised yet.
The rules say pension papers should be made available to the employee the day he superannuates. But his representations to the government have yielded no result or response.
Singh, a 1982 batch IAS, was a popular officer when he was in the service. In several districts, where he was posted, people set up road blocks and staged protests when he got transferred. Nainital reportedly observed a week-long bandh!
Junior officers still call him and complain how stifled they feel, he says, as they are not free to work as per the rules and the Statute. “They (juniors) call to say they wish they had a boss like me. This is the reward and a big solace for me,” Singh quips.