SRINAGAR: Keeping the suspense alive, former IAS officer Shah Faesal on Friday said he would not join the Hurriyat Conference, although he was generous in his praise of former chief minister Omar Abdullah.

“I am a man from the system. I would be happy to change things by being in the system. Hurriyat doesn’t give me that opportunity since they don’t believe in electoral politics,” he said.

The 2009 IAS topper was speaking with reporters at an overcrowded press conference at a hotel here. Tight security was in place with even accredited journalists subjected to frisking by police before they were let into the venue.

Terming himself a “disruptionist”, Faesal said he had not taken any decision on joining the existing political parties, “although Omar saheb has been gracious with his suggestions.”

“I am a free man. By resigning, I am taking a small step of defiance. It is against the lack of credible political initiative by the central government. It is important that right to life of Kashmiri people is respected,” he said.

Referring to the rise of “lynch mob extremism” and Hindu rightwing groups, Faesal said the events of the past two years had an impact on his thinking. “This is another reason for my decision,” he said.

The former IAS officer said the culture of undermining independent investigative agencies like the Central Bureau of Investigation and the National Investigation Agency was part of the provocations that resulted in his quitting government service.

Asked about the state of Kashmiri Pandits, the former civil service topper said the return of Kashmiri Pandits should have been possible a long time ago, “but governments at the centre hadn't done anything so far to make it happen.”

About attacks by Hindu rightwing groups on Jammu and Kashmir's special constitutional status, Faesal said that Article 370 and Article 35-A would have to be guarded, to “strengthen the bond between India and the rest of the country.”

The IAS officer announced earlier this week that he was resigning from the IAS in protest against “unabated killings” and the “lack of sincere reachout” by the central government to address the crisis in Kashmir.

His resignation sparked a controversy, with former union home minister P.Chidambaram stating that the whole world would now learn about the “anguish” of the young IAS officer.

There are rumours that Faesal may join the National Conference and contest from the North Kashmir Lok Sabha constituency. Faesal, however, denied them saying, “I have not taken any decision yet.”