IAS officer Shah Faesal, who resigned from service in protest in 2019 to float his own political party in J&K only to quit politics later, has been appointed Deputy Secretary in the Ministry of Culture.
Sources said the decision to appoint him in the Ministry was approved by the Centre on Thursday.
His resignation had never been accepted by the government and he withdrew it later. He was one of the petitioners in the Supreme Court against the government’s August 2019 move changing the status of J&K.
In April this year, in a series of tweets, Faesal had hinted at his reinstatement as he spoke about “another chance” and being “excited to start all over again”.
“Eight months of my life (Jan 2019-Aug 2019) created so much baggage that I was almost finished. While chasing a chimera, I lost almost everything that I had built over the years. Job. Friends. Reputation. Public goodwill. But I never lost hope. My idealism had let me down,” he said in a Twitter post.
“But I had faith in myself. That I would undo the mistakes I had made. That life would give me another chance. A part of me is exhausted with the memory of those 8 months and wants to erase that legacy. Much of it is already gone. Time will mop off the rest I believe,” he said.
Remarking that “life is beautiful”, Faesal wrote, “It is always worth giving ourselves another chance. Setbacks make us stronger. And there is an amazing world beyond the shadows of the past. I turn 39 next month. And I’m really excited to start all over again.”
The first Kashmiri to top the civil services exams, Faesal was allotted the home cadre in 2008. A doctor-turned-bureaucrat, he served in many capacities in J&K with his last position in the government being Managing Director of Jammu and Kashmir Power Development Corporation (JKPDC).
He was selected as an Edward Mason Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School in June 2018 and was 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.
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At the time of his resignation, he had tweeted, “To protest the unabated killings in Kashmir and absence of any credible political initiative from Union government, I have decided to resign from IAS. Kashmiri lives matter.”
In March that year, he floated his own political party, the Jammu and Kashmir People’s Movement (JKPM). Following the August 5, 2019 decisions that stripped the erstwhile state of its special status and bifurcated it into Union Territories, Faesal, in an interview to The Indian Express on August 10, called the government decision on Kashmir a “catastrophic turn in our collective history”.
Later, he was prevented from flying to Istanbul from Delhi and subsequently placed under detention. He was released in June 2020. Soon, Faesal announced that he was not only resigning from his party but quitting politics altogether. Ever since, he has been trying to return to the service. During this time, Faesal deleted his past tweets that were critical of the Centre.