Aslam Khan IPS Transfer Imbroglio:
Sentimental, Not Sensitive
By Denis Giles
This is no loose talk, neither a negative remark ... It is the truth which cannot be suppressed. And, there is nothing sensitive about it. The issue of transfer of an active and honest officer like Mrs. Aslam Khan IPS, Superintendent of Police, Anti-Corruption Unit was initially brought to the notice of the Administrator by Andaman Chronicle through twitter on 11th Dec 2013. Instead of taking the cue, the Administrator lambasted the paper using phrases like ‘loose talk’, and warned not to comment on such sensitive issues on social media.
In fact, the technological advances and convergences happening in the world of media, has redefined the presentation of news and views. Social media, today plays a major role in breaking stories.
Furthermore, in the absence of an active opposition in the Islands; circumstances compel the media to highlight such issues. The reply by the Administrator on the twitter was in bad taste, which forced AC to bring out the facts before the readers. Instead of going public with the issue, it thought it prudent to meet the Administrator and appraise him about the issue. But, the meeting once again reiterated the fact that the Administration was in no mood to listen to the sentiments of the Islanders.
Chronicle had no option, but to bring out a full-fledged report on the issue highlighting its various facets.
The issue, which could have been resolved in a 20 minute rendezvous with the Administrator fizzled out only because of the ‘negative’ attitude of the Administration towards media and the present Administrator falling prey to misconceptions created by his officers.
Media being the fourth estate is a pillar without which democracy cannot prevail. It has a significant role to play when it comes to development of the society at large, as the views expressed are nothing but the voice of the common man; which gets suppressed or are sidelined, intentionally.
The issue is not of Mrs. Aslam Khan as a person. The issue is the sentiments of the Islanders, which are being fiddled with. Had it been any other competent and honest officer in place of Mrs. Khan, AC would have taken the same stand.
The report carried in Andaman Chronicle on 16th Dec. 2013 has raised many eyebrows. While few took it as an attempt to degrade, there were many who could not grasp the catch.
It is high time the Administration seriously engage the media in the process of policies and decisions, if at all it really means for the Islanders. Although, the media woke up to the situation and highlighted the mistake, there were no takers.
The issue is a huge blow to the Islanders who had sighed relief after the frustrating six and a half year tenure of the former Lt. Governor Bhopinder Singh, when corruption was at its best and the Anti-Corruption Unit in deep slumber. There was a sigh of relief for the Islanders, when Lt. Gen. (Retd) AK Singh took over as the new Lt. Governor of Andaman & Nicobar Islands.
A promising, energetic, focussed, people friendly, open hearted and by following what he preached, Lt. Governor AK Singh became the messiah of the Islanders. He is the most happening person in the Islands who promises to rewrite the history of the islands. In fact his promises seem better than what was published in a multi colour glossy book of achievement, a special supplementary issue on the then Lt. Governor Vakkom Purushottaman titled ‘Golden Era of Andaman & Nicobar Islands’, published by the first private daily of the islands, ‘Andaman Herald’ in 1995.
AK Singh announced that his prime focus would be on Health, Education, Connectivity and zero tolerance for corruption. The announcement came as soothing relief for the islanders who never expected the pace at which their new LG could grasp their pulse. Orders were issued, directions given and time frame set, and the best part was the LG himself interacting with the islanders through social media. His major achievement in a short span came with his initiative for ‘Mock Disaster Management Exercise’, which was proved during the recent Cyclone ‘Lehar’.
Even the Anti Corruption Unit in deep slumber suddenly woke up, realizing they were sailing in a different boat altogether. Connecting with the ideology of the Lt. Governor AK Singh, the Superintendent of Police ACU, Mrs. Aslam Khan IPS came heavy on the corrupt. She sent shivers down the spine of corrupt and disseminated the clear message of Lt. Governor. To add, for the first time, the CID under her leadership cracked the impossible, interstate crime ‘ATM Fraud’, the victims being from across the country including the islanders. It was something which was never imagined and even the police in the mainland India wondered.
When thing were gaining momentum, with halted projects being reviewed and revived by the Lt. Governor; it came as a major blow for the hope with the announcement of transfer of Mrs. Aslam Khan from ACU. It shocked the Islanders, especially the youth and sent negative vibes. Blushing faces turned pale, hopes for a bright future dimmed and the question ‘why?’ loomed large.