Shah Faesal, who topped the IAS exam in 2009 but floated a new political party in Jammu and Kashmir last year, on Monday abruptly quit politics amid speculation that he may return to government service.
The 37-year-old tendered his resignation from the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) in January 2019 to launch a new regional party — Jammu and Kashmir Poeple’s Movemnet (JKPM) — of which he became the first president. He was the first candidate from the erstwhile state who topped the civil services exam.
Faesal, a 2010 batch officer, was strongly critical of the scrapping of Article 370 of the Constitution on August 5 last year and was arrested from Delhi airport days later before he could board a flight to Turkey. He was subsequently taken into preventive detention and later booked under the draconian Public Safety Act from which he was released in June.
The doctor-turned-burueacrat’s political career ended suddenly with his party announcing on Monday that he had stepped from its leadership and quit politics. JKPM vice-president Feroze Peerzada will be the party’s interim president till formal elections can be held for the post.
Faesal had resigned from the IAS before joining politics but his resignation has not been accepted, pending disposal of a show cause notice given to him by the government in 2018. His name still figures in the list of ‘serving’ IAS officers on the official website of the Department of Personnel.
Faesal’s decision to quit politics prompted speculation that he may want to go back to government services if permitted.
He was quoted by India Today as saying that there was a “new reality” in Kashmir and people have to come to terms with it. “As a member of IAS, I have been a stakeholder in the future of this nation. I can’t imagine why some people would be anti-India. I can’t be seen as a traitor to a nation that has given me everything in life. I want to move on and start afresh. In whatsoever position that is,” Faesal told the India Today network.
Officials in the Home and Personnel ministries refused to comment on whether Faesal was re-joining the civil services but said his explanation on a show cause notice issued in June 2018, for his comments on Twitter on growing atrocities against women, had not been received so far.
Asked whether Faesal could rejoin duty, the officials said he needs to first submit his explanation on the charges levelled against him after which the decision of accepting or rejecting his resignation would be taken.