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IAS topper Shah Faesal prevented from flying abroad

Faesal had described the August 5 decisions on Kashmir as the 'greatest betrayal' and 'daylight robbery'

By Imran Ahmed Siddiqui in New Delhi

  • Published 15.08.19, 3:00 AM
  • Updated 15.08.19, 3:00 AM
Faesal, the only person from the Valley to have topped the civil services examination, replied “I am not going to be a stooge” and went on to describe how three generations of Kashmiris had been betrayed by successive governments at the Centre.
Faesal, the only person from the Valley to have topped the civil services examination, replied “I am not going to be a stooge” and went on to describe how three generations of Kashmiris had been betrayed by successive governments at the Centre. The Telegraph picture

Shah Faesal, the IAS topper who gave up the civil service for public life, was prevented from flying out of the international airport in Delhi and flown to Srinagar in a pre-dawn operation.

Sources said Faesal, who has been critical of the Centre’s decision to strip Jammu and Kashmir of its special status and the subsequent lockdown, was allegedly detained by security agencies early on Wednesday while he was on his way to Harvard. Other sources said he was on his way to London or Istanbul.

“He was detained under the Public Safety Act (PSA) immediately on his arrival at Srinagar airport,” a home ministry official said.

Less than 24 hours earlier, he had given an interview to BBC Hardtalk, where he was greeted with the question: “So, which is it for you, Mr Faesal, are you going to be stooge or separatist.”

Faesal, the only person from the Valley to have topped the civil services examination, replied “I am not going to be a stooge” and went on to describe how three generations of Kashmiris had been betrayed by successive governments at the Centre.

Faesal had described the August 5 decisions on Kashmir as the “greatest betrayal” and “daylight robbery”.

The 35-year-old, an MBBS graduate from a remote village in Kupwara, had topped the 2010 IAS examination and was soon pitched by the country’s political elite as a role model that Kashmiris should follow. The former bureaucrat, whose father was killed by militants when he was still in school, became a strong advocate of the idea of India.

On Wednesday, sources in the Union home ministry said Faesal was stopped from flying out of the country around 5.30am and was put on a flight to Srinagar. “He was detained under the Public Safety Act (PSA) immediately on his arrival at Srinagar airport,” said a ministry official. The act allows detention without trial for up to two years.

The official refused to divulge the reason behind Faesal’s detention and which agencies had taken the action against him.

Faesal, who quit the Indian Administrative Service in January this year, had floated the Jammu and Kashmir People’s Movement. He promises to create a “corruption-free” state, choosing the pro-India camp over the separatists but swearing loyalty to the “sentiments” of the Kashmiri people.

He had described his decision to step down from the IAS as a protest against the “growing culture of intolerance” and “the marginalisation and invisiblisation of around 200 million Indian Muslims at the hands of Hindutva forces, reducing them to second-class citizens….”

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