Ashish Joshi, senior official of the Department of Telecommunications, who had sought police action against former Aam Aadmi Party minister Kapil Mishra for invoking mass violence through Social Media, was suspended on Tuesday, February 26. Joshi, an Indian Communications Finance Officer who was serving as the Controller of Communications Account in Dehradun will continue receiving the subsistence allowance as 50 per cent of the basic salary.
In a letter issued by the DoT, Additional Director General O P Jairath ordered that Joshi will remain suspended from immediate effect and disciplinary action will be taken against him. The letter read, "And whereas it is further ordered that the order shall remain in force the headquarters of Shri Akash Joshi will be the office of CCA, Dehradun and said Shri Ashish Joshi shall not leave the headquarters without obtaining the permission of Competent Authority."
Govt suspends DoT official #AshishJoshi for reporting hate speech by @KapilMishra_IND https://t.co/p1ZP2D0xUw @Secretary_DoT @BDUTT @Nidhi @sardesairajdeep pic.twitter.com/C0ra8ZCcl8
— PKR | প্রশান্ত | پرشانتو (@prasanto) February 26, 2019
Joshi, in his letter to Delhi Police Commissioner Amulya Pathak had sought action against Mishra who had posted an inflammatory and incendiary video on Twitter invoking mass action against journalist Barkha Dutt, actor Naseeruddin Shah, Kavita Krishnan and Prashant Bhushan and student activist Shehla Rashid, among others. In his video, Mishra was reciting a poem which said, “Modi ji tum unko dekho jo dushman hai seema paar. Baaki janata nipta degi ghar mein chhipe hue gaddar (Mr. Modi, take care of our enemies sitting beyond the borders. Citizens will take care of the traitors hiding in the country)”.
Reports citing DoT sources stated that Joshi was suspended without any opportunity to explain his position. Mishra had accused Joshi of using his official letterhead for launching a personal propaganda. However, Joshi had clarified that he was a public servant and it was his duty to bring notice to another public servant if something wrong takes place as per Indian Penal Code.
The inflammatory & incendiary video circulated by one Mr Kapil Mishra has been brought to the notice of Patnaik Sir! @CPDelhi . pic.twitter.com/7d62baw6pX
— Ashish Joshi (@acjoshi) February 25, 2019
Previously, Joshi had become an eyesore for many right-wing activists when he had sought action against the trolls who sent obscene messages to Ravish Kumar and Abhisar Sharma. The letter directing nine telecom operators to take action, stated, “You are hereby directed to take immediate action against the customers/subscribers of your network for sending obscene messages (as numbers listed above) as it is also a violation of Customer declaration in CAF (Customer Application Form).”
Responding sharply to the suspension of Ashish Joshi, women rights activist Kavita Krishnan said that the action was not surprising given the Modi government's vindictive approach to hound people. Talking to NewsClick, she said, "This is a vindictive action against the only person in the bureaucracy who stood up to defend the Constitution and demand action against an MLA calling for lynch mobs to kill individual citizens. It's shocking, but after five years of Modi Raj, not surprising that Kapil Mishra isn't punished but Ashish Joshi is."
Despite repeated attempts, Ashish Joshi could not be reached for his response through calls and messages.