Kashmir, Jan 11 Shah Faesal, the 35-year-old outspoken IAS topper on Wednesday announced that he has decided to resign from the government and join politics. He attributed his decision to the “unabated killings in Kashmir”, the Centre’s refusal to initiate a political process in the state and “marginalisation of the Indian Muslims”.
Faesal, who belongs to the 2010 batch, told The Indian Express Wednesday that he has already served the notice period to resign from the civil services to the government. “Yes, I might join politics,” he said, without mentioning the party he may join.
“I have decided to resign from IAS. Kashmiri lives matter,” Faesal said in a Facebook post that was severely critical of the central government.
Faesal, a 2010-batch IAS officer, was the first Kashmiri to top the civil services examination held by the Union Public Services Commission, or UPSC. His appointment was then seen to reflect the changing mindset of Kashmiris.
He is expected to join the National Conference and contest the Lok Sabha polls from Baramulla in north Kashmir. “It has been a storm of abuse and adulation. Hundreds and thousands of people reacted to my resignation in hundreds and thousands of ways. I totally expected this. As of now, I have quit the service. What I am going to do hereafter also depends on what people of Kashmiri want me to do. More so the youth. I have an idea how I can do it. I am sure you have ideas too and you want me to factor those ideas in before I take a final decision,” he said in another Facebook post.
Former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah welcomed Faesal to politics. “The bureaucracy’s loss is politics’ gain. Welcome to the fold @shahfaesal,” Abdullah tweeted. Abdullah refrained from outlining any more details, saying Shah Faesal’s “future political plans are his to announce”.
Omar Abdullah has supported Shah Faesal on social media more than once, particularly when Faesal was trolled for his blunt remarks. He was as scathing in his Facebook post announcing his decision to resign.
“I wish to reiterate that voices of reason in this country cannot be muzzled for long and the environment of siege will need to end if we wish to usher in a true democracy,” he wrote.
Faesal, from Jammu and Kashmir’s Kupwara district, got into trouble with the government last year and was issued a show-cause notice for tweeting a comment on a story of a man raping his mother.
“Patriarchy+Population+Illiteracy+Alcohol+Porn+Technology+Anarchy = Rapistan!,” Faesal had tweeted in April over a story titled “Porn addict rapes 46-year-old mom, arrested in Gujarat”.
A doctor-turned-bureaucrat, Faesal was Managing Director of Jammu and Kashmir Power Development Corporation (JKPDC) before he went to Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) as an Edward Mason Fellow. He was supposed to resume duties in June this year. He is currently in Kashmir, having taken a semester break from HKS.
Allotted the Jammu & Kashmir cadre of the IAS, Faesal has served in various capacities, including Director Education and Deputy Commissioner, Bandipore. He said he will speak to the press on his future plans on Friday. “I will be addressing a press conference on Friday to share my future plans. I will look forward to your support and blessings in this new mission,” he said.
Earlier, announcing his decision to resign from the civil services, he said, “To protest against the unabated killings in Kashmir and lack of any sincere reach-out from the Union Government; the marginalization and invisibilization of around 200 million Indian Muslims at the hands of Hindutva forces reducing them to second-class citizens; insidious attacks on the special identity of the J&K state and growing culture of intolerance and hate in the mainland India in the name of hyper-nationalism, I have decided to resign from Indian Administrative Service.”
“I wish to remind the regime of the day that subversion of public institutions like RBI, CBI and NIA has the potential to decimate the constitutional edifice of this country and it needs to be stopped. I wish to reiterate that voices of reason in this country cannot be muzzled for long and the environment of siege will need to end if we wish to usher in a true democracy,” he said.
A senior official in J&K’s General Administration Department (GAD) has confirmed that Faesal has served his mandatory three-month notice period to the government. Credit