Kashmiri IAS Topper Shah Faesal ‘Joins’ NC, Omar Abdullah Says, ‘Bureaucracy’s Loss is Politics’ Gain’
SRINAGAR: After months of speculation, Kashmiri IAS officer Shah Faesal is learnt to have finally resigned from the services to join politics.
Sources said the 2010 batch topper sought voluntary retirement Monday to join the Farooq Abdullah-led National Conference. Faesal, 35, who comes from the Lolab valley in Kupwara, is believed to be eyeing the Baramulla constituency in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.
“He applied for voluntary retirement the day before, but the process takes time since it has to be approved by the DoPT,” a source familiar with the development told ThePrint.
Once his resignation is accepted, Faesal is expected to meet the National Conference leadership, including party chief Farooq Abdullah and son Omar.
“There will be a meeting between the NC leaders before his (Faesal) official induction into the party,” a senior party leader told ThePrint.
Faesal has just returned to India from a stint as a Fulbright fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School. He arrived in the Valley on 2 January, after which he decided to resign.
Faesal could not be immediately reached for a comment, but sources close to him said resignation had been on his mind for a while.
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Faesal rose to fame soon after clearing 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.
However, his outspokenness on social media and criticism of the country and the government has led to several run-ins with the powers-that-be for breaching the All India Services (Conduct) Rules.
Last year, Faesal found himself in trouble when an official inquiry was launched against him for a remark on rampant rapes in south Asia. In a tweet, criticising the rape culture in the region, Faesal referred to south Asia as “Rapistan”.
However, he refused to withdraw his comment in the face of the inquiry, and instead suggested that the inquiry was a classic case of bureaucratic over-enthusiasm.
“He is one of the rare officers who will criticise the government when needed, and, as a result, he neither gets along with the IAS lobby nor the central government,” a government officer said.
“He is generally perceived as anti-establishment… He’s more like an activist.”