Shah Faesal, the first Kashmiri IAS topper, has resigned from civil services and plans to enter politics ahead of the Lok Sabha elections. 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 notice to resign from the civil services to the government. “Yes, I might join politics,” he said, without mentioning the party he may join.
Sources, however, suggested Faesal was likely to join the National Conference. Its leader and former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah welcomed Faesal’s decision. “The bureaucracy’s loss is politics’ gain. Welcome to the fold @shahfaesal,” he tweeted.
In a second tweet, Omar clarified he did not indicate that Faesal would be joining his party. “Actually I welcomed him to (the) folds of politicians. His future political plans are his to announce,” he said.
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 a 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 invisiblization 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 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.
Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq has also welcomed Faesal’s decision to resign from civil services saying he hopes that his concern for the people of Kashmir will “guide his choice of politics”.
An outspoken bureaucrat, Faesal had invited an explanation action from the government. In July last year, the centre government asked the state government led by the then Governor N N Vohra to initiate action against Faesal for his tweets. In one tweet, he compared Article 35-A to Nikahnama. “I would compare Article 35-A to a marriage deed/Nikahnama. You repeal it and the relationship is over. Nothing will remain to be discussed afterwards,” he tweeted.