SRINAGAR: “My manifesto and joining any political party will come after talking to people at the grassroot level,” said former IAS officer Shah Faesal, who recently quit the civil services to protest “injustice against Kashmiris”.
Addressing a press conference in Srinagar on Friday, Faesal said that is was an important day in his life when he resigned and decided to come forward and raise the Kashmir issue in a “proper” way.
“It’s now time to come forward and speak about the happenings and stop doing politics over the graves of youngsters. There are many taboos in Kashmir related to the ongoing conflict, and those need to be removed.”
On his resignation, the 2010 IAS topper said it was a “small act of defiance” to remind the central government of its duties.
When asked about Kashmir Pandits, Faesal said all the political parties who were in power failed to bring Pandits back to Kashmir.
Expressing dismay that no government was taking initiative about civilian killings in and around Kashmir, Faesal accused political parties in India of “playing the communal game to fetch votes”, and added that “people here must stand to keep such things out of Jammu & Kashmir.”
Responding to a question about the administration, Faesal said he would always be a proud member of the department and would do his best to serve people of Kashmir.
“We must come on one platform and work together and speak out about the sufferings,” he said.
“I am a man from the system and I would be happy to change things by being in the system. Hurriyat doesn’t give me that opportunity as they don’t believe in electoral politics,” he said, while commenting about an alleged offer from Hurriyat.
Faesal said coming to politics was not an “alternative” but a “new edition” which will create change to make the situation better.
On rumours about joining National Conference, Faesal said former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah had always been his “helping hand“ and always supported him, adding that so far he had not decided on joining any mainstream party.
Faesal said the suffering of people and killing of youngsters gave a clear picture of “government failure” in Kashmir, adding that it was time to “reimagine” politics in Kashmir.
Talking about politicians currently active in and outside India, he said he was inspired by the work of Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan, and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
When Newsclick spoke to some local people about Faesal’s decision to enter politics, many said he could do better as he was from system and could correct it genuinely.
Faesal, the first civil services topper from Kashmir, had announced on Wednesday, that he was resigning from the IAS to protest against “unabated killings” and “marginalisation of Indian Muslims” in the Valley. A day after, he said his next course of action would depend on what the people of Kashmir want, especially the youth. He has also invited feedback from the people in his Facebook post after resigning. He has served in various posts, including that of director of education and deputy commissioner.