Kashmiri IAS officer Shah Faesal, who resigned from the bureaucracy in 2019 to float his political party only for leave politics later, was appointed Deputy Secretary at the Ministry of Culture.
Sources said the decision to appoint him to the ministry was approved by the Center on Thursday. The Indian Express had reported on April 29 that Faesal had been reinstated in the Indian Administrative Service after clearance from the Home Ministry and was likely to be posted to New Delhi.
Notably, Faesal’s resignation had never been accepted by the government and he even withdrew it later.
In a series of tweets in April, Faesal even hinted at his reinstatement, talking about “another chance” and being “excited to start all over again.”
“Eight months of my life (January 2019-August 2019) created so much baggage that I was almost done. Chasing a chimera, I lost almost everything I had built over the years. Job. Friends . Reputation. Public benevolence. But I never gave up hope. My idealism had let me down,” he tweeted.
“But I had faith in myself. That I would fix the mistakes I had made. This life would give me another chance. A part of me is exhausted from the memory of those 8 months and wants to erase that legacy. A big part has already disappeared. Time will mop up the rest, I believe,” he added.
Remarking that “life is good”, Faesal added: “It is always worth giving yourself another chance. Setbacks make us stronger. And there is an incredible world beyond the shadows of the past. I will be 39 next month. And I can’t wait to start all over again.
The first Kashmiri to win the civil service exams, Faesal was awarded the national cadre in 2008. A doctor-turned-bureaucrat, Faesal has held many positions in the state, his last government post being that of Director General 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 expected to join public service a year later.
Yet 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: “In protest against the incessant killings in Kashmir and the absence of any credible political initiative from the Union government, I have decided to resign from the IAS. Life in Kashmir matters.
In March of the same year, he launched his own political party, the Jammu and Kashmir People’s Movement (JKPM). Following the August 5, 2019 decisions that stripped the former state of its special status and divided it into union territories, Faesal was prevented from flying to Istanbul from Delhi and was subsequently placed in prison. He was finally released in June 2020.
Soon Faesal announced that he was not only resigning from his party, but quitting politics altogether. Since then, Faesal had again attempted to enter the services, which the government had viewed sympathetically.
Meanwhile, Faesal deleted all his past tweets that criticized the Center and praised the schemes initiated by the Kashmir government. He re-tweets almost all statements, announcements and speeches by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah. He even tweeted earlier that people should watch Kashmir Files, Vivek Agnihotri’s film about the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits from the valley.
In an interview with The Indian Express on August 10, 2019, Faesal called the government’s decision on Kashmir a “catastrophic turning point in our collective history”. He further gave several interviews where he said that the Kashmiris had no choice but resistance. “I see this as a catastrophic turning point in our collective history, a day when everyone feels that this is the death knell of our identity, our history, our right to our land, our right to our existence. A new era of outrage has started from August 5,” he told The Indian Express.