Shah Faesal returns to bureaucracy, appointed deputy secretary in Ministry of Culture

Kashmiri IAS officer Shah Faesal, who had resigned from bureaucracy in 2019 to float his political party only to quit politics later, has been appointed as deputy secretary in the Ministry of Culture.

Sources said that the decision to appoint him in the ministry was approved by the Centre on Thursday. The Indian Express had reported on April 29 that Faesal had been taken back into the Indian Administrative Service following clearance by the Ministry of Home Affairs and was likely to be posted in New Delhi.

Notably, Faesal’s resignation had never been accepted by the government and he even withdrew the same later.

In April, in a series of tweets, Faesal had even hinted at his reinstatement as he spoke about “another chance” and being “excited to start all over again”.

“Eight months of my life (Jan 2019-Aug 2019) created so much baggage that I was almost finished. While chasing a chimera, I lost almost everything that I had built over the years. Job. Friends. Reputation. Public goodwill. But I never lost hope. My idealism had let me down,” he had tweeted.

“But I had faith in myself. That I would undo the mistakes I had made. That life would give me another chance. A part of me is exhausted with the memory of those 8 months and wants to erase that legacy. Much of it is already gone. Time will mop off the rest I believe,” he added.

Remarking that “life is beautiful”, Faesal further wrote, “It is always worth giving ourselves another chance. Setbacks make us stronger. And there is an amazing world beyond the shadows of the past. I turn 39 next month. And I’m really excited to start all over again.”

The first Kashmiri to top the civil services exams, Faesal was allotted the home cadre in 2008. A doctor-turned-bureaucrat, Faesal served in many capacities in the state with his last position in government being as Managing Director of Jammu and Kashmir Power Development Corporation (JKPDC). He was selected as an Edward Mason Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School in June 2018 and was supposed to rejoin government service a year later.

However, six months before his return, he surprised everyone when he announced his decision to resign from the service on January 9, 2019, and hinted at joining politics.

At the time of his resignation, he had tweeted, “To protest the unabated killings in Kashmir and absence of any credible political initiative from the Union government, I have decided to resign from IAS. Kashmiri lives matter.”

In March that year, he floated his own political party, the Jammu and Kashmir People’s Movement (JKPM). Following the August 5, 2019, decisions that stripped the erstwhile state of its special status and bifurcated it into Union Territories, Faesal was prevented from flying to Istanbul from Delhi and subsequently put under detention. He was eventually released in June 2020.

Soon, Faesal announced that he was not only resigning from his party but quitting politics altogether. Since then, Faesal had been trying to enter the services again, which the government had looked at sympathetically.

During this time, Faesal deleted all his past tweets that were critical of the Centre and has been praising the schemes initiated by the government in Kashmir. He re-tweets almost all statements, announcements and speeches of PM Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah. He had even tweeted earlier that people must watch Kashmir Files, the Vivek Agnihotri film on exodus of Kashmiri Pandits from the Valley.

In an interview to The Indian Express on August 10, 2019, Faesal had called the government’s decision on Kashmir a “catastrophic turn in our collective history”. He further gave multiple interviews where he said that now Kashmiris had no choice but resistance.  “I see it as a catastrophic turn in our collective history, a day when everybody is feeling that it is a death knell to our identity, our history, our right to our land, our right to our existence. A new age of indignation has begun from August 5,” he had told The Indian Express.

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