The ‘preacher’ IAS officer Umashankar case

C Umashankar, a 51 year old IAS has kicked up a row in Tamil Nadu by preaching Christianity at public places including the sensitive city of Kanyakumari which some refer as a communal sensitive area .


Taking a strong exception, The Chief Secretary to Tamil Nadu Government has ordered him not to hold any public religious meetings and has further warned him of action, if he does not stop preaching.


What is the 1990 Batch IAS officer Umashankar accused of?


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In a written directive Umashankar was warned against from taking part in seven prayer meetings scheduled from January 24 to 26 in Tirunelveli, Thoothukudi and Kanyakumari districts. The letter stated that he would we looking at an “appropriate action” if he indulged in “preaching and propagating” activities. Violating the government direction would invite disciplinary action against him under relevant provisions of the All India Services (conduct) Rules, 1968, and the All India Services (Discipline & Appeal) Rules, 1969.


Defense of Umashankar?

“As per the Article 25 of the Constitution, I have every right to preach what I believe during my free time,” says Umashankar.


“The state government order asking me not to preach Jesus Christ is illegal and unconstitutional but I have complied with the directive. I have cancelled 7 meetings till yesterday and this week again I am cancelling. I go and preach in churches. Where is there a problem with others? Where does it affect their rights? They have restricted my individual freedom, my rights,” CNN IBN quoted Umashankar saying.


“Where are they getting the idea that an IAS officer cannot exercise his religious right? My service rules are very clear: they do not speak about religion. Religion is my fundamental right and the Supreme Court is very clear on this. If a fundamental right has to be curtailed, it must be through legislation,” he added.

Issues with the controversy


Many debates have come up in the Indian media where there are mixed discussions on what rights are covered under Article 25 and what are the service ethics of the Indian Civil Services.


The controversial statements by Umashankar go beyond than the regular preaching and propagating activities.


Some of his provocative statements include that “Uttarakhand floods and disasters” were “a sign of wrath of gods on Hindu sinners” which had kicked up a storm. The official further claimed that his prayers could cure people from major diseases. “I am guided by Jesus and I have heard him several times.”


Umashankar says his preaching is meant only for Christians and since he talks about the world’s end, people of other religions will not understand his preaching. He said that the 9/11 attacks in America was a representation of the ‘spiritual Babylon’. 


People in hell can only look at heaven. They can only come to heaven by one route & that is Jesus Christ: #IASEvangelist Umashankar to Arnab Goswami on Newshour of Times Now



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