In Modi Government’s first reaction to former UPSC topper Shah Faesal’s decision to quit the elite Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Union Minister Dr Jitendra Singh accused Faesal of having ‘failed to condemn terror’ which, he asserted, showed Faesal’s lack of conviction.
“This in itself is an indication of lack of conviction. If you have the conviction then you should be ready to condemn the act of terrorism. You can't enjoy protection of security forces against a potential attack and at the same time not be courageous enough to point out at a terrorist as a terrorist but find a soft target in an Indian state which is tolerant and gives leverage to your expression,” the Minister told the media when his reaction was sought.
The reaction prompted a swift rebuttal from former chief minister and National Conference leader Omar Abdullah who tweeted, “Dr Sahib, Shah Faesal’s father was killed by militants but I don’t expect you to bother to educate yourself before you speak. No one more than Faesal knows the pain and suffering militancy and violence have brought upon Kashmir and its people.”
Faesal, who has sought voluntary retirement from the IAS in protest against marginalisation of the minorities, has let it be known that he would be joining the National Conference.
The union minister’s brother Devender Singh Rana is senior National Conference leader from Jammu. Rana was also advisor to Omar Abdullah when the latter was Chief Minister of the state.
Two former Chief Ministers of Jammu and Kashmir besides former Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram have spoken up in his support.
Finance Minister and senior Congress leader P Chidambaram said “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.”
Defending his right to ‘self-determination’ in a statement on Twitter, Mehbooba Mufti said the abuses hurled at the former IAS officer were uncalled for.
“Granting citizenship on the basis of religion is appalling and disgusting in equal measure. We are full of venom when it comes to Pakistan but are matching some of its policies in spirit,” she wrote on Twitter, adding that “But even the country that was formed on the basis of two nation theory has changed its attitude towards minorities now. Temples have been declared as national heritage and approved the Hindu marriage Bill.”
The 2010-batch IAS officer, the first person from Jammu and Kashmir to top the civil services exam, announced his resignation on social media on Wednesday, slamming the NDA government over the “absence of any credible political initiative” to address the situation in Kashmir. Faesal also claimed that his decision to quit the IAS was prompted by “marginalization of around 200 million Indian Muslims" who were being reduced to "second-class citizens" by Hindutva forces.”
Earlier, on Thursday, Faesal—who has been receiving online “abuse and adulation” following his resignation, wrote on Facebook, “My choice of politics will be decided by real people not FB likes and comments.”