Following his reinstatement and no objection to his Central deputation from the Government of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, the 2010 IAS topper Shah Faesal has been cleared for his posting in the National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS) which is a part of the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) in South Block.
According to highly placed authoritative sources, days before his joining back in Jammu, Faesal met the Union Home Minister Amit Shah at his residence in New Delhi. It was not clear what transpired between the two in the one-on-one meeting for 45 minutes but immediately thereafter the bureaucracy began clearing decks for Faesal’s posting in the NSCS.
“Since there’s normally no room for IAS officers in the NSCS, the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) would transfer one vacancy to accommodate Shah Faesal. This decision has been taken at the highest level. DoPT in coordination with the Ministry of Home Affairs, which administers the IAS and IPS cadre in Union Territories, would be issuing necessary orders in the current month”, said a top-ranking source.
Faesal’s phone was continuously switched off. Faesal’s meeting with Shah is seen as a courtesy call for thanksgiving as the Home Minister accepted his application to withdraw his resignation and join the service back. The Home Minister is also understood to have put in his word for Faesal’s smooth joining in Jammu and his transition from the UT to the Centre. Following the Centre’s approval of his reinstatement, Faesal appeared at the Jammu and Kashmir Chief Secretary Arun Kumar Mehta’s office at Jammu late in the evening, ahead of the Prime Minister’s visit. After a brief meeting with Mehta, Faesal dropped his joining report with Principal Secretary General Administration Department Manoj Dwivedi.
After the PM’s visit on 24 April, the J&K Government sent the NOC for Faesal’s Central deputation to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). Immediately after returning from the United States of America in January 2019, the J&K cadre IAS officer announced his resignation from the service. In 2018, he was selected as an Edward Mason Fellow at John F Kennedy School at Harvard University. Leaving his fellowship halfway, he returned to Kashmir and began dabbling in politics. Initially he intended to join the National Conference (NC) which, according to well-placed sources, had decided to field him as its candidate in the Lok Sabha elections from Baramulla-Kupwara.
However he changed his mind after some youths at his first Press conference raised objections to his perceived plan, claiming that the NC did not represent their aspirations. Later in March 2019, Faesal floated his own political party, the Jammu and Kashmir People’s Movement (JKPM). Former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti roped in different mainstream parties, including JKPM, to put up resistance to the Union Government’s plan of abrogation of Article 370. The conglomerate was named ‘Peoples Alliance for Gupkar Declaration’ (PAGD). While Farooq Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti, and other prominent PAGD leaders were detained before and after the J&K Reorganisation Bill was tabled in the Rajya Sabha on 5 August 2019, Faesal was not arrested.
He was, however, taken into custody and detained with other PAGD leaders at Srinagar’s SKICC when he was boarding a Delhi-Istanbul flight at Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi. After he was released in June 2020, Faesal announced his permanent resignation from his party as well as politics. A year later, he began praising the political and administrative initiatives of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah. Around that time, he is said to have expressed his willingness to join back his public service.
In his 8-year-long IAS, Faesal served as Deputy Commissioner Bandipora, Director School Education Kashmir, and Managing Director Jammu and Kashmir State Power Development Corporation. If his posting in the PMO materialises, 39-year-old Shah Faesal will become the first Kashmiri to be appointed to the NSCS.