Shah Faesal (35), who topped the Indian Administrative Services (IAS) examination in 2010, on Wednesday resigned from the government services, citing “marginalization and invisiblization of around 200 million Indian Muslims at the hands of Hindutva” as a reason.
“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 hypernationalism, I have decided to resign from Indian Administrative Service,” said Faesal.
He said the current regime’s subversion of public institutions such as 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 added.
Faesal said he will be addressing a press conference on Friday to share his future plans.
Former chief minister and National Conference (NC) vice president Omar Abdullah has welcomed Faesal’s move. “The bureaucracy’s loss is politics’ gain. Welcome to the fold,” said Abdullah.
Sources said Faesal is likely to join the NC and may emerge as a Lok Sabha candidate from north Kashmir for the party.
Faesal became a poster boy in 2010 by becoming the first ever candidate from J&K to top the prestigious examination. He fast became a rare symbol of hope in trouble torn Kashmir and motivated hundreds of students in J&K to compete in the IAS examination.
Faesal had opted for the Kashmir cadre and worked in many State departments, including education and J&K power corporation.
In his interview to this reporter immediately after cracking the examination, Faesal had said: “We are caught in self-created confines of perceptions. I have broken those myths and perception. Our participation in the exam is miserable.”
However, the IAS topper landed himself in many controversies for his opinions expressed through articles in newspapers and on the social media on Kashmir and the idea of India.
The Centre’s Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) underlined a tweet of his and termed the contents as “prima facie in contravention of the extent provision of the All India Service (Conduct Rules) 1968, All India Services (Discipline and Appeal) Rules, 1969” in July last year.
Faesal’s tweet referred to by the DoPT reads: “Patriarchy + Population + Illiteracy + Alcohol + Porn + Technology + Anarchy = Rapistan.”
He hails from a remote village of Sogam in north Kashmir, more than 90 km away from Srinagar. His father was shot dead by militants in 2002.
He last year went to Harvard University in the US on a scholarship for a yearlong course on Public Policy. In a recent Facebook post, Faesal said: “I am changed man now”.