‘Azadi, plebiscite, right to self-determination not taboo’
• No plan to join any mainstream party right now
• Will contest election
Asking the mainstream parties of the State to re-imagine their vocabulary, an Indian Administrative Services (IAS) topper, Shah Faesal Friday said these parties should not see Aazdi, plebiscite and right to self-determination as taboo.
“Mainstream parties needs to re-imagine as there is a need to tell truth to the people. Let mainstream politics open its eyes to that vocabulary and re-imagine,” he said addressing a news conference held amid beefed up security measures.
Ruling out the option of joining the Hurriyat, Faesal said he would determine his future in mainstream politics after consulting the youth.
He said having specialised in the governance, he would be more inclined toward mainstream politics than the Hurriyat camp that does not believe in electoral process.
“I am the man from the system. My specialization is in governance. I am not essentially trained to be in politics. So I will be happy to do something in an institution where I can use my skills as governance administrator,” Faesal said. “I wish I could do that elsewhere as well, but because Hurriyat does not give me that kind of opportunity and very rightly as they don’t believe in electoral process. So accepting that difference of opinion, at this point I won’t be able to do that (join them).”
However, he said it was wrong to assume that the Hurriyat had no role in achieving the resolution of Kashmir issue.
Faesal, who topped the 2010 Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) exams, ruled out joining any mainstream political party as of now.
“As of now I don’t have any plans to join any mainstream political party. My plan is consultation with stakeholders, talk to youngsters, talk to political parties and try to build a consensus that in Kashmir we need to come together,” he said. “We are in a crisis situation. It is not the time to do politics on the graves of youngsters. So I will reach out to all people.”
Faesal, who was projected as a poster boy by New Delhi to counter the rise of youth joining militant ranks after the killing of popular Hizb-ul-Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani, rejected reports that he was contesting 2019 parliamentary polls from north Kashmir’s Baramulla constituency on the National Conference (NC) ticket.
“Omar Abdullah is a great personality. But it will be wrong to say that NC has ever approached me to join them. In fact I used to call Omar sahab to seek some suggestions,” he said.
On floating its own party and being a self-made leader like Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Faesal said even though he was inspired by both politicians but it was not easy to replicate them in conflict zone like Kashmir.
“I am deeply inspired by Imran Khan and Arvind Kejriwal but we know that we are operating in a conflict zone and it is not easy for us to work in that space, the space, which has lost its legitimacy in last few years. I wish if the youngsters of the State will give me that opportunity, I will be happy do a retake of Imran and Kejriwal,” he said. “The moment you start a party, people say it is sponsored by the agencies. The moment you are Independent, people say he is an agency man, and then when you join existing mainstream parties, people have problem with them. That’s why I believe there should be a consensus before I will make my next move.”
On contesting the upcoming polls, Faesal said he would be very happy to contest the elections.
“I believe that the parliamentary and legislative space is important and we need well-meaning and right people there. In the recent years due to de-ligitimisation of the electoral process, and the way it has been conducted, we have lost interest, and the youth aren’t attracted to these institutions,” he said. “I think we need to change that. I tend to use the Parliament as a source of engagement for bringing resolution to our State.”
Talking about his resignation from the government services, Faesal said it was a small act of defiance to protest against the lack of credible political initiative by New Delhi toward Kashmir issue.
He said the recent developments like efforts to undermine the special status of the State, the growing lynch-mob politics outside the State, efforts to shrink space for ideological and religious minorities, the culture to undermine institutions such as the CBI and the NIA, had become something he could not stand.
“Since the service conduct rules don’t permit a civil servant to freely voice his feelings, this became choking for me. Today, as I voice my feelings publicly, I feel greatly relieved," Faesal said.
He also accused New Delhi of the failure to facilitate the homecoming of the displaced Kashmiri Pandits, and “lack” of initiative for bringing peace to border residents, especially in Jammu, R S Pura, Poonch and Rajouri.
Faesal on Monday resigned from government services to protest “against the unabated killings in Kashmir” and “lack of any sincere reach-out from the Government of India”.