The Cabinet has initiated a move to remove B. Ashok, Vice-Chancellor of the Kerala Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (KVASU), from the post for allegedly writing an article in support of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi attending the silver jubilee of the Sivagiri Madhom.
On May 22, the Cabinet directed the Chief Secretary to take follow-up measures in this regard.
The Cabinet approved the proposals in a note (file number 34312/special A/1/2013/ General Administration Department) on recommending to the Governor removal of the Vice-Chancellor for allegedly violating guidelines for writing articles (issued by the Governor), and sections 3 (1) and 7 of the All-India Services (Conduct) Rules, 1968.
The note stated that by writing the article, “Modi Sivagiriyil Vannalentha” (What if Modi visits Sivagiri?), published in a Malayalam newspaper on April 24, 2013, Dr. Ashok had “gone beyond standards of decency and discipline”, and “dishonoured political leaders and heads of departments”.
On April 11, 2013, the Secretary to the Governor had given permission to Dr. Ashok for publishing technical and literary works on condition that they “do not contain any adverse criticism of current or recent policy of the Central or State governments” or “of conduct of public functionaries or authorities including fellow officers”.
Dr. Ashok’s article appeared when Modi’s visit had kicked up a controversy in the State.
The article compared Modi’s visit to Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi having not attended the Sivagiri Madhom celebrations.
“A congregation having allegiance to the catholic vision of Sree Narayana Guru is open to all. Even a felon seeking repentance must be welcomed. Modi is a serving Chief Minister and deserves to be treated with respect until proven guilty of any charges,” stated Dr. Ashok.
Sources close to Dr. Ashok said the move was politically motivated as the article criticised “Mr. Rahul Gandhi’s advisors” and claimed that the article per se did not violate any service conduct rule as it did not flay government policy or action.
When contacted, Dr. Ashok denied any knowledge of the government move. “I have neither been informed nor asked to clarify,” he said.
Dr. Ashok was previously removed from the post in a move that was later termed by the High Court “illegal, arbitrary and capricious”. He was reinstated in August 2012.