Kashmir Freedom Movement Leader Shah Faesal Quits Politics

Shah Faesal. Photo: JKPM (file photo)
Shah Faesal. Photo: JKPM (file photo)

Shah Faesal has been criticizing the Modi government for abrogating Article 370 of the Constitution that ensured special privileges for the people of Kashmir.

By Rakesh Raman

A former IAS officer Shah Faesal – who supports freedom movement in Kashmir – quit politics today, while resigning from the Jammu and Kashmir People’s Movement, a political outfit that he had founded last year after leaving his bureaucratic position.

In a statement today, the party said that Faesal has informed the State Executive Members that he is not in a position to continue with the political activities and wants to be freed from the responsibilities of the organization.

Although the reason for his resignation was not given, it is largely believed that he has succumbed under the state pressure. His future plans are not yet clear.

The bureaucrat-turned-politician was freed in June after nearly 10 months of detention as he was arrested at Delhi airport on August 14 last year when he was about to fly abroad. The Indian authorities had alleged that he was instigating crowds at the airport.

After his arrest at the Delhi airport, he was sent back to Kashmir, which is a disputed territory between India and Pakistan. On reaching Srinagar in Kashmir, he was again arrested under a harsh Public Safety Act (PSA). Reports suggest that Faesal was going to Istanbul when he was taken into custody and placed under house arrest in Kashmir.

He has been criticizing the Indian government headed by Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi for abrogating Article 370 of the Constitution that ensured special privileges for the people of Kashmir.

Faesal denounced the Modi government for suppressing the voice of 8 million people of the Kashmir valley who want freedom from India. In an interview to BBC News, Faesal had said PM Modi is murdering the Constitution of India.

He added that Kashmiri constitution has been “murdered” by Modi’s decision to end the semi-autonomous status of Jammu & Kashmir (J&K). Earlier in March last year, Faesal had launched his political party “Jammu and Kashmir People’s Movement” (JKPM).

He had resigned under protest from his Indian Administrative Service (IAS) post in January last year, saying Muslims had been reduced to second-class citizens in India. He had resigned citing “unabated killings” of Kashmiris by Indian security forces in Kashmir among other factors.

Faesal, 37, also criticizes the Modi government for subverting public institutions such as the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), and the National Investigation Agency.

Besides Shah Faesal, the Modi government had also arrested a slew of other local leaders who oppose the Indian government. The entire region is now under the control of heavily armed Indian security forces.

It is stated that India has deployed nearly 900,000 security people to control unarmed Kashmiris, and nearly 80,000 civilians have been killed in the conflicts during the past 7 decades.

By Rakesh Raman, who is a national award-winning journalist and social activist. He is the founder of a humanitarian organization RMN Foundation which is working in diverse areas to help the disadvantaged and distressed people in the society. He also creates and publishes a number of digital publications and research reports on different subjects. These publications include the “Covid Health Bulletin” that covers global coronavirus news and views.

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Rakesh Raman