India

Former UPSC topper Shah Faesal quits IAS in protest against marginalisation of Muslims

As part of a growing trend of serving bureaucrats resigning to get into politics, former UPSC topper Shah Faesal has sought retirement from the IAS to contest for a seat in the Lok Sabha

Photo courtesy: Twitter

Ashutosh Sharma

Outspoken IAS officer of the J&K cadre Shah Faesal on Wednesday announced his decision to quit the elite service. He is likely to join National Conference soon and contest for a seat in the Lok Sabha.

His resignation, he claimed, was in protest against the “marginalisation and invisiblisation” of around 200 million Indian Muslims besides the “unabated killings in Kashmir and absence of any credible political initiative from Union government.”

A resident of the Lolab valley in Kupwara, Faesal is reportedly eyeing the Baramulla constituency in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

Former Chief Minister of the state, Omar Abdullah has welcomed the 35-year-old-2010 batch topper into his party. On Wednesday afternoon, he wrote on Twitter: “Bureaucracy’s loss is politics’ gain.”

“To protest against the unabated killings in Kashmir, and lack of any sincere reach-out from the Union Government; 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 mainland India in the name of hyper nationalism, I have decided to resign from Indian Administrative Service,” he posted on Facebook and Twitter.

“I wish to remind the regime of the day that subversion of public institutions like 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,” the post further read.

“I am thankful to my family, friends and well-wishers for supporting me in this amazing journey in IAS. One of my important tasks here-after will be train and guide aspiring civil servants to help them in achieving this dream,” he said in his post, adding that “I will be addressing a press conference on Friday to share my future plans. I will look forward to your support and blessings in this new mission.”

His decision follows his return to Kashmir on January 2 after a brief stint as a Fulbright fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School. Faesal had cleared the civil services exam in 2009, becoming the first Kashmiri to top the test. After joining the IAS, he was appointed director of school education in the Kashmir Valley.

Last year, inquiry was launched against him for a remark on rampant rapes in south Asia. Criticising the rape culture in the region, Faesal had referred to south Asia as “Rapistan”.

In a recent article that he co-authored with Mehboob Makhdoomi for The Indian Express, A paradox in the Valley, Faesal had argued that “In Kashmir, those who represent people’s sentiment do not participate in electoral process.”

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