Shah Faesal, IAS officer who never shied from attacking the government

Shah Faesal, the Kashmiri Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer on Wednesday had quit the civil service to protest against unabated killings in Jammu and Kashmir and against the marginalization of Indian Muslims by Hindutva forces, “reducing them to second class citizens”.

He made the announcement on his Twitter page as news of his decision spread. “To protest unabated killings in Kashmir and the absence of any credible political initiative from Union government, I have decided to resign from IAS. Kashmiri lives matter,” he said.

He was appointed the director of school education in the Kashmir Valley. He recently returned to India from an assignment as a Fulbright associate at the Harvard Kennedy School and on Wednesday. He announced his resignation to answer his political calling.

He shot to fame in 2009, when he became the first person from Jammu and Kashmir to top the Indian civil service examination. His outspokenness on social media and criticism of the government has led to several run-ins with the Centre.

A doctor by profession, he also held the post of managing director of the Jammu and Kashmir Power Development Corporation before he left for Harvard University in the United States to pursue further studies.

Last year on April 22, Faesal created a controversy criticising the rape culture in India by tweeting, “Patriarchy+Population+Illiteracy+Alcohol+Porn+Technology+Anarchy = Rapistan!”

A government servant is not permitted to do so as per the DoPT rules and a departmental inquiry was ordered against him for the tweet following a request from the Centre’s Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT).

He refused to withdraw his comment and instead suggested that the inquiry was a classic case of “bureaucratic over-enthusiasm”. In another tweet, he called the government order a “love letter” from his boss.

He shared it online and tweeted that the irony here is that “service rules with a colonial spirit are invoked in a democratic India to stifle the freedom of conscience. I’m sharing this to underscore the need for a rule change.”

Earlier while speaking to the Indian Express later on this matter, he said: “Rape is not part of government policy that criticism of rape would mean criticism of government policy and invite action.”

In March 2017, he made sarcastic remarks on government jobs and also on the political situation in the Valley. He called a government job “slavery of mind, eyes, tongue, hands and feet.”