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Jammu Kashmir

Posted at: Jul 12, 2018, 2:13 AM; last updated: Jul 12, 2018, 1:50 PM (IST)

When I speak out, it shocks… but India moving towards openness: Faesal

‘Every time there is a rape, I see my own sister, daughter in the victim… wish we could stop this shame’
When I speak out, it shocks… but India moving towards openness: Faesal
Shah Faesal

Samaan Lateef

Tribune News Service

Srinagar, July 11

A day after the government sought an explanation from the 2009 IAS topper, Shah Faesal, over his tweets against rape, he says in India times are changing towards openness and respect for individual views.

Faesal, who is currently in Harvard University on a Fulbright fellowship, says he is not scared of losing a few monthly bucks for surrendering his conscience. “This is just a job and I don’t think I will remain jobless in this great world of possibilities. What I stand for us is more dear to me than anything else,” he told The Tribune over phone.

Disturbed by the rape incidents across the subcontinent, Faesal says, “I wish I could (do something for them). Every time there is a rape, I see my own sister and daughter in that victim. I wish we could stop this shame.”

Faesal says the Indian society is changing towards openness to criticism and more respect for individual views. “I have not criticised the system. Classically, bureaucrats are quiet, anonymous, detached, opinionless, and compliant. When I speak out, it shocks because we have always believed that government employees have mortgaged their free speech against their monthly salary, which is not the case. Times are changing. Old order is under challenge. We are moving towards more openness to criticism, more transparency, more respect for views of every individual,” Faesal said. The J&K Government last year barred its employees from posting anything against the government on social media. “No government employee shall engage … on social media which may be prejudicial to the government” reads a government order of December 27, 2017, amending the J&K Government Employees Conduct Rules.

Faesal wants to fight the battle against rape at an individual level without dragging other IAS officers into it. “I have not talked to members of the IAS fraternity. I see this as my individual battle and don’t want to drag others into it,” he said.

The state government has asked Faesal to explain his position within 15 days about his tweet on the rampant rapes in South Asia. The departmental inquiry against Faesal is premised on the grounds that his tweet violated service conduct rules.

Faesal says he has complete faith in the judiciary and the government can’t act arbitrarily against him. “I have complete faith in the judiciary. The Supreme Court has emerged as the custodian of democracy and I value that deeply,”he said, adding there are legal protections available to fight against thegovernment notice.

On top Supreme Court judges saying judiciary in India was under threat, he says, “There are checks and balances. Politicians are not gods. They can be held accountable like anyone else. In a democracy, only people matter.” On his return to Kashmir, he says, “As of now, I am excited to be back at school. Have a year to decide about that.”

Omar backs IAS officer

Former CM Omar Abdullah has backed Faesal: “Looks like DoPT is determined to chase @shahfaesal out of the civil services. The last line of this page is shocking & unacceptable where they question Faesal’s “integrity & honesty”. How is a sarcastic tweet dishonest? How does it make him corrupt?”

‘Not scared of losing job’

"This is just a job and I don’t think I will remain jobless in this great world of possibilities. What I stand for us is more dear to me than anything else." Shah Faesal


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