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Who is Shah Faesal IAS ?

On January 9, Shah Faesal stunned the nation with his announcement that he was quitting as managing director of the Jammu and Kashmir State Power Development Corporation. The 35-year-old had topped the Indian Administrative Services (IAS) examination in 2010.

Who is Shah Faesal?

Why did he take such a step?

He termed his decision a “small defiance and protest against unabated killings in Kashmir, lack of reach-out and marginalisation of around 200 million Indian Muslims at the hands of Hindutva forces by reducing them to second-class citizens.”

Did he court controversies?

Mr. Faesal’s frequent brushes with controversy has constantly pushed him to the centre of discourse. As Deputy Commissioner, Bandipora, he ordered a magisterial inquiry into the killing of a civilian, Farhat Ahmad Dar, in firing by security forces on protesters within his jurisdiction in 2014. He followed up the inquiry by writing to the General Administration Department, seeking an amendment to the rules to bring appraisals of officers of the rank of superintendent of police under a Deputy Commissioner’s purview “to reduce human rights violations.” His letter attracted a reprimand from the Chief Secretary, who called it “crossing of the red line.” Subsequently, his tweets and write-ups on the Kashmir problem landed him in a major row. Many BJP leaders, including Union Minister Jitendra Singh, were critical of his views. In July 2018, the Department of Personnel and Training pointed to a tweet of Mr. Faesal and said its contents were “prima facie in contravention of the provision of the All India Service (Conduct Rules), 1968, and All India Services (Discipline and Appeal) Rules, 1969.” An inquiry is pending against him for his tweets.

Where did he grow up?

Mr. Faesal hails from the far-flung village of Sogam in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district, where militancy raged in the 1990s since the area is close to the Line of Control (LoC) and was a major route for youth ex-filtrating the Valley into Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir for arms training. His father, a teacher, was killed by militants in 2002 in the village. The decision of Mr. Faesal, an MBBS with a Masters degree in Urdu, came nine years after he topped the IAS examination. In 2010, he described his feat as “breaking of the myth” of discrimination. In fact, he did motivate hundreds of local aspirants to compete in the Union Public Service Commission examinations, an effort that resulted in a quantum jump in the number of students appearing from the Kashmir valley. With his speeches and interviews, widely televised on Doordarshan, he emerged as a poster boy from the troubled Valley. Mr. Faesal’s story of success became a counter-narrative to the discourse of alienation that was driving youth to militancy and street protests.

What next?

Mr. Faesal, who returned to the State recently from Harvard University after completing a course in public policy, has since announced that he is going to join politics. However, he remained non-committal on joining any ideological platform. He described his stint in politics as “an addition and not an alternative” and made it clear that “he has no aim to divide the J&K electorate further,” a hint that he may join some regional party. In the face of an unprecedented feedback, especially from the youth on social media platforms, Mr. Faesal was swayed against joining a current mainstream party immediately. He said his politics would be “a politics of disruption.” The mainstream parties, which had failed to represent the sentiments of the people, should reinvent themselves and find a new vocabulary, Mr. Faesal said. He has decided to go back to the grassroots and meet people for the next six months before taking a call.

As Reported by The Hindu

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