Former IAS officer Shah Faesal, who quit the Indian Administrative Services on Wednesday, addressed his maiden press conference in Srinagar on Friday, 11 January. 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 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.
In his press conference, Faesal highlighted the extreme sources of dejection both inside and outside the state, which triggered his resignation.
“This resignation is a small act of defiance to remind the central government of its responsibility towards the people of Jammu and Kashmir,” Faesal said at the press conference.
"“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 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 Faesal, Former IAS officer
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.
‘Will Not Join Separatist Hurriyat’
Responding to Chairman All Parties Hurriyat Conference Mirwaiz Umar Farooq’s comment on his resignation, Faesal said, “I am a man from the system and I would be happy to change things by being in the system. Hurriyat doesn’t give me that opportunity as they don’t believe in electoral politics.”
Farooq, upon Faesal’s resignation, had tweeted:
‘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.”
Faesal’s Resignation: How It Unfolded
Faesal – who was the first civil services topper from Kashmir – had announced on Wednesday, 9 January, that he was resigning from the IAS to protest against “unabated killings” and “marginalisation of Indian Muslims” in the Valley. A day after, he said his next course of action depends on what the people of Kashmir want, especially the youth.
Faesal wrote on Facebook that he had received a storm of abuse and adulation over his decision to resign. He also sought ideas from people about his future and urged them to show up in Srinagar to deliberate over the decision. However, the meeting was later cancelled due to adverse weather conditions in the Valley.
On Wednesday, National Conference Vice President and former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah had welcomed Faesal’s decision on Twitter. He also hinted at the possibility of the former IAS officer’s foray into politics.
Actually I welcomed him to the fold of politicians. His future political plans are his to announce. https://t.co/y5FkD8ZTWE— Omar Abdullah (@OmarAbdullah) January 9, 2019
On Thursday, 10 January, senior Congress leader P Chidambaram attacked the BJP over Faesal’s decision to resign, and said, “The world will take note of his cry of anguish and defiance.”
Though sad, I salute Mr @shahfaesal IAS (now resigned). Every word of his statement is true and is an indictment of the BJP government. The world will take note of his cry of anguish and defiance.— P. Chidambaram (@PChidambaram_IN) January 10, 2019
Faesal, a doctor by profession, was the managing director of the Jammu and Kashmir Power Development Corporation (JKPDC). Before that, he attended Harvard University in the US for further studies, reported The Indian Express.
He is also the first person from Kashmir to top the civil services examination. He had 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.
(With inputs from The Indian Express and CNN-News18)
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