Updated: August 11, 2020 7:20:41 am
Over a year-and-a-half after he resigned from government service to join politics, Shah Faesal, the first Kashmiri to top the Civil Services Examination in 2009, quit politics as well.
On Monday, Faesal stepped down as the President of Jammu and Kashmir People’s Movement (JKPM), a political party he founded after resigning from the government and confirmed to The Indian Express he has quit politics.
Though Faesal resigned from the civil services in January last year, his resignation had not been accepted by the government – even after 19 months – pending investigation into some of his social media posts. The non-acceptance of his resignation has kept the door open for his return to the old job.
A senior official in the government, who did not wish to be named, said, “The door is open for him.” He will, however, have to withdraw his resignation first, another official said. A third official said he was likely to be posted in Delhi.
“Shah Faesal had informed State Executive members that he is not in a position to continue with political activities and wants to be freed from responsibilities of the organisation,” said an official release of the JKPM.
“It was decided to accept his request so that he can better continue with his life and contribute whichever way he chooses,” the release said.
On Sunday night, Faesal had dropped the tag of President JKPM from his twitter bio. By Monday evening, he deleted all his earlier tweets, many of which over the last 18 months were critical of the government.
With Faesal’s departure, the JKPM has disintegrated within 18 months of its launch. In October last year, one of the senior leaders of the political organisation Shehla Rashid Shora had announced quitting politics, and on Monday its chairman and former minister Javed Mustafa Mir also resigned from the party.
Faesal continues to be under house detention, and sources close to him said he had made his mind immediately after the abrogation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status. They said he was under “tremendous pressure” from some quarters to rejoin the government but he had not made any future plans “as of now”.
“No doubt, he is under severe pressure from certain forces and is being asked to return to civil services,” said a source close to him. “But it is too early to say what he is going to do. As of now, he has not decided anything about his future,” the source said.
A doctor-turned-bureaucrat, Faesal’s last position in government was as Managing Director of Jammu and Kashmir Power Development Corporation (JKPDC), before he was selected as an Edward Mason Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School in June 2018. He was supposed to rejoin government service a year later.
But six months before his return, he surprised everyone when he announced his decision to resign from IAS on January 9, 2019, and hinted at joining politics. In March 2019, Faesal launched his own party. He was detained at Delhi airport on the intervening night of August 14-15, 2019, and sent back to Srinagar and placed under detention. He was booked under the draconian Public Safety Act in February this year which was revoked in June. His movement, however, continues to be restricted.
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