An IAS officer’s tweet against the “godi (lapdog) media” for failing to report how Tablighi Jamaat members were donating blood to facilitate plasma therapy for Covid-19 patients has earned him a showcause notice from the Karnataka government.
Mohammed Mohsin, secretary with the backward class welfare department, had last year been suspended after he had, as an election observer, got Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s helicopter searched in Odisha.
“Godi” means “lap” in Hindi, and the term “godi media” is a derogatory reference to media outlets that are seen as blindly supporting the ruling establishment.
Mohsin’s tweet, now deleted but quoted fully in the April 27 showcause notice, said: “More than 300 Tablighi Heroes are donating their plasma to serve the country in New Delhi only. What about? #Godi Media? They will not show the works of Humanity done by these heroes.”
Plasma therapy involves transfusing patients with antibody-rich blood. Many Tablighi Jamaat members who have recovered from Covid-19, and thus have high levels of antibodies against the novel coronavirus in their plasma, have donated their blood towards plasma therapy, being done experimentally.
The pro-government media had earlier provided extensive coverage to accusations that a March congregation in Delhi by the Tablighi Jamaat was the chief reason for the spread of the virus in the country. The allegations had fuelled a social media campaign that accused the Muslim community as a whole of deliberately spreading the infection.
The notice from Karnataka’s BJP government asks Mohsin to explain within five days why his tweet should not be deemed a violation of Rule 7 of the All India Services (Conduct) Rules, 1968, and action taken against him.
Rule 7 forbids government officials from airing any view that can be construed as criticism of the government or its policies, or that can embarrass the government’s relations with another government.
“Yes, I got the notice and I’m going to reply shortly,” Mohsin told The Telegraph on Saturday.
The 1996-batch officer from Bihar had been the Election Commission’s district observer for Sambalpur, Odisha, when Modi flew in for an election meeting in April last year and had his chopper inspected.
The Central Administrative Tribunal stayed Mohsin’s suspension within a week, and the Election Commission later revoked it.