SRINAGAR: Shah Faesal, the IAS topper who was projected as a ‘role model’ for young Kashmiris at the peak of the 2010 civil unrest, has sought voluntary retirement from the Indian Administrative Service. He is likely to contest Lok Sabha elections from north Kashmir.

The disclosure was made by an NDTV journalist on Twitter, and retweeted soon after by former chief minister Omar Abdullah with the comment: “The bureaucracy’s loss is politics’ gain. Welcome to the fold @shahfaesal”.

According to reports, Faesal will be contesting from the North Kashmir parliamentary constituency which was won by the Peoples Democratic Party’s Muzaffar Hussain Baig in the 2014 general elections.

At the time of his resignation Faesal was on leave, pursuing a master’s degree as a Mason fellow at Harvard University. “He applied for voluntary retirement the day before but the process takes time since it has to be approved by the home ministry,” reports said.

The disclosure comes after months of speculation that the young former civil servant from north Kashmir was mulling quitting the service and joining politics. Faesal himself had dropped enough hints on the social media about his plans.

Faesal recently coauthored an article in the Indian Express in which he departs from his previously held positions on the Kashmir issue, terming the crisis in the Valley an “asymmetric war” and blaming New Delhi for pushing Kashmiris “towards a suicidal upsurge against the Indian state.”

Last July the J&K government initiated disciplinary action against Faesal for a tweet about “rapistan” which didn’t go down well in various quarters of the state and central government. The tweet was made in the context of the brutal rape and murder of an 8-year-old girl from Kathua.

“You have allegedly failed to maintain absolute honesty and integrity in the discharge of official duty and thus acted in a manner unbecoming of a public servant,” read the notice by the J&K General Administration Department, which initiated disciplinary proceedings against Faesal at the request of the central government’s Department of Personnel and Training.

Faesal’s tweet read: “Population +patriarchy +illiteracy +alcohol +porn +technology +anarchy = rapistan”. The post drew the ire of the DoPT. After it issued the notice to Faesal he wrote:

“Love letter from my boss for my sarcastic tweet against rape-culture in South Asia. The Irony here is that service rules with a colonial spirit are invoked in a democratic India to stifle the freedom of conscience.”

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