Gem of a Person, People-Friendly & Darling of School Children Former Deputy Commissioner of Dakshina Kannada/Mangaluru S. Sasikanth Senthil Speaks on the ongoing issues/row pertaining to ‘HIJAB’
Mangaluru: October 20, 2017, was good news for Dakshina Kannada & Mangaluru when S Sasikanth Senthil, an IAS officer from the 2009 batch of the Karnataka cadre took charge as Deputy Commissioner of Dakshina Kannada. Senthil had topped the UPSC examinations and ranked ninth on the national level. From 2009 through 2012, he served as assistant commissioner in the Ballari district. He served for two terms as chief executive of Shivamogga Zilla Panchayat and was also the deputy commissioner of the Chitradurga district and Raichur district. Senthil has been the director in the Department of Mines and Geology from November 2016. He was posted as the Deputy Commissioner of Dakshina Kannada district on 20 October 2017.
During his tenure as DC, he was very much liked and appreciated for his honest duties by good and educated people but was hated by corrupt politicians and government department authorities, because he was honest and strict in following the rules. One thing for sure in Dakshina Kannada/Mangaluru good and honest government officers will not last long, because of the games and politics played by Netas. For example, Mangaluru City Corporation Commissioner Hephsiba Korlapathi who took charge on January 1, 2015, many Councillors who were against her for her strict nature, very disciplined in her work and who showed much interest in the development work of the city. Her over-disciplined nature was perceived as a threat by some of them, and they transferred her within five months after she assumed the post.
Having earned the tag “DARLING OF SCHOOL CHILDREN”, former DC Sasikanth Senthil, had been ruthless against law-breakers while exhibiting utmost professionalism in handling natural calamities in his nearly two-year stint in Dakshina Kannada. Even though the rains stopped once holidays were declared, his intention of not putting the lives of children in danger, expecting water bodies to swell during downpours, was commended. And due to his action on declaring rain holidays, on the lighter side of vein, there were quite a few funny WhatsApp messages making a mockery of him, but DC took them as fun and cared less about the posts.
S. Sasikanth Senthil came into the limelight after he resigned from IAS services on 6 September 2019 out of discontent with the actions of the Bharatiya Janata Party(BJP) led central government. His resignation letter said that democracy’s fundamental building blocks are being violated in an unprecedented way. Sasikanth was also renowned for managing communal conflicts and controlling the sand mafia in Dakshina Kannada district where he worked as a Deputy commissioner. The bureaucrat said it was “unethical” on his part to continue as a civil servant when “fundamental building blocks of diverse democracy are being compromised”. “I also strongly feel that the coming days will present extremely difficult challenges to the basic fabric of our nation and that I would be better off outside the IAS to continue with my work at making life better for all,” Senthil said in the letter.
He also apologized to the public representatives and the people of the district for leaving his job midway. In February 2020, he said that he had resigned from the IAS post for the fascism and anti-people activities of the BJP. Sasikanth earned a name for being a responsible government official during his years as a civil servant in Dakshina Kannada district and was lauded by his peers for his administrational fairness. He said his administration had succeeded in cutting the funds provided to Religious extremism organizations and this was accomplished by limiting the district’s Illegal sand mining and sand since the two are connected together. He also stated his management had discussions with members of various religious communities.
There were 42 cases and 6 instances of communal violence at Dakshina Kannada in 2017, as per the statistics. It fell to 3 cases and 3 instances in 2018. He was recognized for placing control on the district’s unlawful sand mafia which had almost ruined the delicate environment of the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ). Senthil had reduced the number of sand extraction permits in the coastal regulation zone rivers from over 400 to 90 during his 2 years in the district. Sasikanth introduced a platform and an app in May 2019 to encourage transparency in sand mining thus curbing unlawful mining. The management made it compulsory that all sand mined from CRZs must be distributed only via the platform, this effectively destroyed the unlawful sand export to other states. The platform was such a triumph that neighbouring Udupi district also adopted the initiative.
The Bharatiya Janata Party(BJP) leader Anant Kumar Hegde, called his resignation an act of arrogance. He also called him a traitor and asked him to go to Pakistan. Jignesh Mevani, the MLA of Vadgam Assembly constituency in Gujarat said in a tweet that “History will remember that some brave among us decided to stand up when everyone was asked to crawl. The MLC of Congress, Ivan D’Souza and party supporters organized a demonstration in front of the Deputy Commissioner’s office in Mangaluru. The demonstrators kept BJP accountable for Senthil’s resignation. He also asked for an investigation into the matter. Villagers from Sasikanth’s native village staged demonstrations not to resign his post. He has also built a library in his village and helped many students to get education.
Sasikanth had called the ruling BJP government as a Fascism government” and that Fascism is coming to India and there is a general sense among officers that things are really not correct. He had also said that the Kashmir scenario is part of a “fascist framework” that is being implemented in the nation and said that an entire State’s month-long clampdown is unheard of. He had also blamed the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and BJP for divisive politics. Pointing to the 2020 Jawaharlal Nehru University attacks, Sasikanth had said that the Jawaharlal Nehru University is a top-tier university that educates children from poor backgrounds and that is why they had increased the fee of the hostel from Rs 30 to Rs 3,000. He also said that the BJP government wants to shut down all universities and other higher education centres which produce rational students who would challenge the party’s irrational initiatives. Sasikanth also said that their agenda is quite contrary to the interests of various working communities, especially the Dalit community and other oppressed people.
On a final note, on the transfer of former MCC Commissioner within five months after taking up the post, and then DC Sasikanth Senthil resigning within two years, it seems like Mangaluru does not want to keep good, strict and honest government officials, to govern the City- either they get transferred for doing an honest and corrupt free job or resign after getting fed up with too much of bossism and interference of corrupt and dumb politicians. It’s unfortunate and sad to note that good and concerned citizens of Mangaluru who had full hopes in this young and smart Deputy Commissioner, where the City would have progressed better during his tenureship, were left with their hopes completely shattered, due to the unexpected decision made by DC. Many things would have been accomplished under Senthil’s leadership, which no other past DC’s would realistically ever be able to deliver- but all the hopes of good citizens were gone in vain- Mangaluru did miss an honest, strict and disciplinary Deputy Commissioner- and who was a FRIEND to all, rather than a DEPUTY COMMISSIONER!
Now while there has been unrest and chaos regarding the Hijab row, former Dakshina Kannada DC Senthil has come out with his powerful and motivating words of wisdom aptly put on Youtube, which has gone viral on social media and has been viewed and complemented by millions. WATCH BELOW –