Dalit Rajasthan IAS officer alleges harassment, converts to Islam

Updated - September 22, 2016 08:52 pm IST

Published - December 31, 2015 06:49 pm IST - Jaipur

After being denied the promotion that would make him the State’s Chief Secretary, senior IAS officer Umrao Salodia, a 1978 batch IAS officer from the Dalit community, on Thursday, appealed to Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje for Voluntary Retirement. Mr. Salodia, who alleged the Raje government of “victimising him on the basis of caste” also converted to Islam, on Thursday.

In a letter addressed to Ms. Raje, Mr. Salodia wrote: "For the first time after independence of the country, myself, an IAS officer from the SC/ST category would have been appointed today [on Thursday] as Chief Secretary [of Rajasthan] on the basis of seniority."

In the letter, Mr. Salodia alleged that the current Chief Secretary C.S. Rajan was given a three-month extension, till March next year, to deny him the opportunity of becoming Rajasthan's Chief Secretary.

"I hereby apply for Voluntary Retirement by giving a three-month notice under the All India Service Rules," Mr. Salodia stated in the letter, adding that he must be granted the Voluntary Retirement as he did not wish to work under a junior officer.

In another drastic step, Mr. Salodia converted to Islam, on Thursday. While addressing the media he said that he believed in the equality that Islam, unlike Hinduism which discriminates on the basis of caste, offered to all its followers. "After conversion my name is Umrao Khan," he said.

BJP dismisses claims

Rajasthan Parliamentary Affairs Minister Rajendra Rathore dismissed Mr Salodia's claims. Addressing the media, on Thursday, Mr Rathore said that Mr Salodia had acted in violation of the law as he spoke against the government. "Mr Salodia's allegations are baseless. Had the government discriminated on the basis of caste, the Rajasthan Assembly Speaker [Kailash Meghwal] would not be from the SC/ST community."

"The government will get the matter investigated and will take a disciplinary action against Mr Salodia based on the results of the investigation," Mr. Rathore said.

Congress condemns BJP govt

Condemning the Bharatiya Janata Party government in Rajasthan for "acts of discrimination against the Dalits", Rajasthan Pradesh Congress Committee president Sachin Pilot said, "Mr Salodia's appeal for Voluntary Retirement has put the working of the BJP government [in Rajasthan] under question. Also, it is tragic that the indifference of the BJP government led the senior officer to convert to Islam."

Mr. Pilot added that Mr Salodia's reaction is an expression of the increasing acts of discrimination against the Dalits in the State.

Mr Salodia, a 1978 batch IAS officer from Rajasthan cadre, is the Chairman of Rajasthan State Road Transport Corporation (RSRTC).

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