Shah Faesal, the first Kashmiri to top the IAS exam, Friday said that “when a state kills and maims its own citizens, it’s self-injury and self-decimation of the worst sort”.
Faesal, who is currently posted as director, school education, Kashmir, also slammed TV news channels who ran his picture alongside that of militant commander Burhan Wani to make a comparison. “By juxtaposing my photos with the images of a slain militant commander, a section of national media has once again fallen back upon its conventional savagery that cashes on falsehoods, divides people and creates more hatred,’’ he wrote in a Facebook post.
“At a moment when Kashmir is mourning its dead, the propaganda and provocation being dished out from red and blue newsrooms is breeding more alienation and anger in Kashmir than what the Indian state can manage,” the IAS officer wrote, adding, “We have to steer safe from spoilers who want to set Kashmir valley on fire just for the sake of TRP.”
Stating that “becoming a part of a ridiculous debate” had “disturbed me very much”, Faesal added, “Have I joined IAS to do a job or to become a part of your sadistic propaganda machine? In fact when I qualified this exam I never thought of spending my whole life scratching the desk and if this nonsense around me continues, I might prefer to resign sooner than later.”
He further said that he was “adding to what my younger colleague Yasin Chaudhary had said earlier in his Facebook post”. Naming certain TV channels, he said these “are not going to tell you the truth about Kashmir. Please mind your head”.
Faesal, who is on his way to the US, also told The Indian Express that he had been “deeply disturbed” by the way some TV channels had portrayed him.
On the violence that broke out in the Valley in the wake of Wani’s death, he wrote, “No government would want to hurt its people and when a state kills and maims its own citizens, it’s self-injury and self-decimation of the worst sort, it makes the body-politic bleed as well. So no government can distance itself from the pain of its people and all out efforts are being made to contain this crisis and reach out to youth. It is going to take time.”
“Let’s pray for those who lost their lives and their eyesight in the ongoing turmoil in Kashmir and stand by one another in this moment of truth. I didn’t have net access all this while and today, once I saw my timeline, I realised it was the time to speak up. Inalillahi wa Ina-ilaihi rajioon (We all come from the almighty and all of us will return to the almighty),” he added.
A woman IAS officer from the Valley, Ruveda Salam, too wrote on Facebook: “Kashmiri blood is not cheap and I will request my non-Kashmiri friends to kindly read about the entire history of J&K before making lewd comments about their character. It is not just a battle of ideas or religion, it is much beyond that. Let’s hope there are no more killings and peace prevails. I write this while getting choked by a range of emotions which have stood by me since childhood.” Salam was not available to confirm if the Facebook account belongs to her.
Faesal’s colleague Muneer-ul-Islam, a senior Kashmir Administrate Officer and Deputy Commissioner, Pulwama, wrote on Facebook that the “media and people in power have been busy comparing Shah Faesal with Burhan”. “Neither of them was competing with each other. Whose interests are being served by this debate?” Muneer wrote.