A fresh audio clip, purportedly recorded and released by Hizbul Mujahideen’s senior commander Riyaz Naikoo, has described the entry of the former Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer Dr Shah Faesal into mainstream politics in Jammu and Kashmir, as an “Indian camouflage to entrap the Kashmiri voters”.
“Why are you trying to emerge as Kashmir’s second Sheikh Abdullah? Why push the Kashmiris further into darkness? Has our nation experienced less trouble and tribulations that you want to add more to it? It doesn’t matter to us whether you participate in elections or not,” Riyaz Naikoo is heard addressing Shah Faesal, the IAS officer who recently resigned and floated his party Jammu and Kashmir People’s Movement (JKPM).
Naikoo continues in the same vein about Faesal, “But your participation in electoral politics has left many Kashmiris confused. Many of them believe that Shah Faesal has quit his post in the IAS as a big sacrifice towards the Kashmiris. They are under the impression that Shah Faesal will do something good for them. But these naïve people of our nation are ignorant, that such ‘sacrifices’ are nothing but a trap, nothing but a camouflage to entrap the Kashmiri voters.”
Did “Greed” Drive Shah Faesal Into Mainstream Politics?
The audio clip has gone viral on social media across Jammu and Kashmir. Officials are still trying to ascertain its veracity, although the voice of the narrator matches Naikoo’s audios released over the last two years or more.
According to Naikoo, Shah Faesal used to earn “lakhs” as an IAS officer, but he had been driven into mainstream electoral politics by his “greed” of earning crores of rupees every month. “This is no sacrifice. Sacrifices are not driven by greed and motives. This is a fact that you have quit your job in IAS. But in lieu of that, you want to assume power. What are you going to get out of such power—other than bullets and pellets,” Naikoo asks of the JKPM founder.
Shah Faesal is not contesting the current Lok Sabha elections but has supported the independent candidate Engineer Rashid on the North Kashmir Lok Sabha seat where his key rivals are Mohammad Akbar Lone of Omar Abdullah’s National Conference (NC), Raja Aijaz Ali of Sajjad Gani Lone’s People's Conference, and Abdul Qayoom Wani of Mehbooba Mufti’s Peoples Democratic Party.
Shah Faesal has described Engineer Rashid as the best among all candidates in North Kashmir.
Shah Faesal’s Sacrifice ‘Not Real’?
“We have no complaints against Mehbooba Mufti, Sajjad Gani Lone, Farooq Abdullah and Ghulam Nabi Azad. But we are deeply disappointed in people like you and Shehla (JNU student leader Shehla Rashid Shora) who are out to deceive the Kashmiri nation and push it further into darkness, despite being highly educated. What are you going to get out of winning an election? Are you going to resolve the issue of roads and electricity,” Naikoo further asks the young Kashmiri politician and a youth icon.
He asserts that the “real sacrifices” were those laid by PhD scholars and highly-educated youths like Abdul Manan Wani, Sabzar Ahmad Sofi, Waseem Ahmad Rather, Shamsul Haq (brother of an IPS officer).
“Can you convince me that you have resigned your IAS post for a different purpose for the Kashmiri people? I swear by Allah, if you will convince me, I will renounce the gun and join your party. But if I convince you that this is all nothing but treason to the Kashmiris, what would be your option? I am not going to ask you to join our ranks but, for God’s sake, don’t side with the killers and enemies of the Kashmiris. You are saying that you would emerge a leader like Imran Khan and (Arvind) Kejriwal. But their followers are free. They are not exposed to tribulations like the Kashmiris. This is not sincerity. This is nothing but madness and hypocrisy,” Naikoo said about Faesal.
(The Quint could not independently verify the authenticity of the audio messages mentioned in the article)
(The writer is a Srinagar-based journalist. He can be reached @ahmedalifayyaz. The views expressed above are the author’s own. The Quint neither endorses nor is responsible for the same.)