The excitement over the resignation of the 2010 batch IAS officer of J&K cadre, Shah Faesal, is subsiding as with each passing day the number of social media posts describing him as an “addition instead of alternative” are increasing. Such posts started appearing soon after Faesal announced his decision to join politics. When he topped the IAS in 2010, Faesal was projected by the government as the role model for “misguided” Kashmiri youth. He sought voluntary retirement from the IAS last week alleging “unabated killings” in Kashmir.
Talk about his intention to resign had started last year when the state government on the basis of a communication of the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), Government of India, initiated disciplinary proceedings against him for his alleged controversial tweets when he was abroad on study leave. The DoPT had forwarded screen shots of his tweets that were in “contravention of the service rules”.
“Patriarchy+Population+Illiteracy+Alcohol+Porn+Technology+Anarchy = Rapistan!”, was his tweet that triggered action against him. His tweet was in the backdrop of the rape-murder of a minor girl in the Kathua district. Two BJP ministers were dropped from her cabinet by Mehbooba Mufti for supporting the demand for a CBI probe into the criminal incident.
Faesal did not relent and posted on his twitter account the letter of the state’s General Administration Department (GAD) wherein a departmental enquiry was initiated against him. He described it as “Love letter from my boss for my sarcastic tweet against rape-culture in South Asia. The irony here is that service rules with a colonial spirit are invoked in a democratic India to stifle the freedom of conscience”.
Many politicians immediately came out in support of Faesal. Former chief minister and National Conference leader, Omar Abdullah, while supporting Faesal, tweeted; “Looks like DOPT is determined to chase @shahfaesal out of the civil services. The last line of this page is shocking & unacceptable where they question Faesal’s ‘integrity and honesty’. How is a sarcastic tweet dishonest? How does it make him corrupt?”.
The GAD in its enquiry letter had said that Faesal had failed to maintain absolute honesty and integrity in discharge of his duties. There were allegations that Faesal, who was considered the blue-eyed boy of Kashmiri politicians, continued with his sarcastic posts even after the J&K Government in December last year, quoting the service conduct rules, ordered its employees to desist from using their social media accounts for any political activity.
His resignation has triggered a debate with the BJP accusing Shah Faesal of being part of the “new weapon of intolerance hoax” being hurled towards the country.
Chief spokesman of BJP, Sunil Sethi, alleged that Faesal was trying to do harm to India which the separatists had failed to fulfill and he was also doomed to fail. Sethi alleged that Faesal has chosen to play into the hands of forces inimical to India as is clear by his misleading statement in a recent press conference.Amid the controversy over Faesal’s resignation, in a rare initiative the J&K Raj Bhavan issued a statement from Governor Satya Pal Malik urging Faesal to reconsider his decision to resign from service and join politics.
“In case he would continue his services as an IAS officer, he could serve the people of society in a better way. As far as his feelings about Kashmiris are concerned he could be posted in the region for extending his fullest support in ameliorating the poverty and creating job opportunities for the youth of the Valley so that people would be prosperous and would lead a better life,” said Malik.
He described Faesal as an efficient and dedicated officer, who rendered his services with great zeal and enthusiasm for the welfare of the State and its people, particularly those belonging to weaker sections of society. “Faesal could deliver better as an officer rather than as a politician. It is not necessary for me to suggest to Faesal what he has to do in future even though best wishes were always with him. I would love to meet him if he comes to me for redressal of problems of the youth,” the Governor added.
There were indications that Faesal might join the National Conference but he said that he would first discuss his future c ourse of action with the youth.
Separatist leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti and many radicals and hardliners of the Valley have supported Faesal’s decision to resign from IAS. Jitendra Singh, minister in the PMO, asked Faesal to target terrorists and not the Indian state. The minister lashed out at Faesal for attacking the “tolerant Indian state” and not the terrorists.
Giving reason for his resignation, Faesal posted on social media: “To protest the unabated killings in Kashmir and absence of any credible political initiative from Union Government, I have decided to resign from IAS. Kashmiri lives matter.” Faesal also said his resignation was due to “the marginalisation and invisiblisation 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”.
Faesal told mediapersons that he was “deeply inspired” by the Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal but Kashmir being a conflict zone he was not in a position to play the role he (Imran) played before coming to power.