Who is Shah Faesal, the J&K IAS Topper Who Quit Civil Services?
Video Producer: Furqan Faridi
Video Editor: Vivek Gupta
Former IAS officer Shah Faesal, who quit the Indian Administrative Services on Wednesday, addressed his maiden press conference in Srinagar on Friday, 11 January. In his address, Faesal highlighted the extreme sources of dejection both inside and outside the state, which triggered his resignation.
‘Not Joining Any Party Now’
“In recent times, we have seen insidious attacks on the special identity of J&K state. The constitutional arrangement, which exists between J&K and Union of India under Article 370 and 35A, has been constantly invoked for electoral gains in the rest of the country. I’m appalled by the failure of the government to facilitate the homecoming of Kashmiri Pandits to the Valley and lack of initiative to bring peace to the lives of border residents of the state.”
Shah cleared the air about reports of him joining politics, saying he will not be joining any political party as of now.
Shah also expressed his disgruntlement with the rise of mob-lynching incidents, curbing of free speech, and the rise of intolerance in the country.
“Undermining the very institutions like CBI, NIA and RBI has the potential of hurting the constitutional edifice of the country,” Faesal said, reiterating his reasons for resignation as mentioned in his Facebook post.
Faesal expressed relief on now being free to focus on these issues, which he had otherwise overlooked as a member of the service.
Overcoming Personal Loss
Born in Lolab valley in Kashmir’s Kupwara in 1983, Faesal completed his MBBS from Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS) in Srinagar. In 2002, tragedy struck when Faesal’s father, Ghulam Rasool Shawas, was allegedly killed by militants. Despite this, Faesal didn't lose hope.
"He was disturbed, but he went ahead and was selected," Faesal's mother Mubeena, a government school teacher, told The Hindu.
Faesal cracked the IAS at his first attempt in 2010. Not one to shy away from speaking out, he attracts a massive following on social media, especially from the youth.
On various occasions, he has ruffled feathers in the ruling dispensation by raising his voice on a host of issues, such as mob lynchings, sexual violence and crackdown on free speech.
According to CNN-News18, Faesal returned to India recently as a Fulbright fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School, following which, he decided to resign.
He is also the first person from Kashmir to top the civil services examination. He served in various posts, including that of Director of Education and Deputy Commissioner.
The bureaucrat has often been in the limelight for his outspoken statements. In July last year, he was rapped by the government for his tweet on rape culture in the country.
‘It’s Time We Disrupt Politics’
Putting speculation of him joining politics to rest, Faesal said he is happy to contest the upcoming parliamentary elections, but will not be joining any political party as of now.
“I wish to go back to the grassroots and work for the people. It's time we disrupt politics. My plan is to hold consultations with political parties and come to a consensus on how to work for the people of Kashmir,” he said.
Expressing his resentment over the mainstream political parties, Faesal said they have “not represented the people of Kashmir correctly. They need to be truthful to the people of Kashmir.”
Talking about launching his own political party like Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Faesal said, he is deeply inspired by them. “But, we know that we are operating in a conflict zone and it's not easy for us to work in that space, which has lost legitimacy in the last few years. I wish, if the youngsters in that space give me that kind of an opportunity, I'd be very happy to do a retake of Imran khan and Kejriwal in the state," he added.