The government on Saturday said that the IAS officer-turned-politician Shah Faesal has a “change of heart” about the political developments that took place in Jammu and Kashmir since the abrogation of Article 370. The government’s comment hints at the possibility of Faesal joining the services again.
“We need not to go into this or waste our mental faculties on it. The thing is there is a change of heart,” Minister of State, Department of Personnel and Training, Jitendra Singh said in response to a question about Shah Faesal and his pro-government stand and tweets.
During a press conference at Jammu, Singh was questioned about Shah Faesal’s statements after the revocation of Article 370 that were construed as anti-nation and his recent tweets praising the government.
Asked whether it is his “genuine change of heart or the government is bringing him back to the services through the backdoor,” Singh said, “The thing is there is a change of heart.”
“When heart transplant is done you don’t say whether it was achieved through general anesthesia or local anesthesia. You say heart has been transplanted. Heart transplant has happened,” Singh said with a smirk on his face.
On August 5, 2019, when Article 370 was abrogated amid communication blockade and mass arrests in Jammu and Kashmir were taking place, Faesal had expressed his resentment against the move. He was arrested on August 14, 2019, after his interview with the BBC in which he had said, “The abrogation of Article 370 has finished the mainstream. Constitutionalists are gone. So you can either be a stooge or a separatist now. No shades of grey.”
In 2018, Faesal got enrolled in the Mid-Career Master of Public Administration (MPA) program at Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) as a Fulbright Scholar. Later on his return to Jammu and Kashmir, he quit civil services and launched a political party, Jammu Kashmir People’s Movement (JKPM) in January 2019. The government didn’t accept his resignation though. Former governor Satya Pal Malik had appealed to him to return to the services.
In August 2019, he was arrested from Delhi airport when he was on his way to HKS to complete the last semester of his MPA program. He was detained in Jammu and Kashmir under the Public Safety Law (PSA). The BBC interview is cited as one of the main reasons behind his arrest.
In August last year, after his release, Faesal stepped down from the chairmanship of his party saying he is not in a position to continue with political activities and wants to be freed from the responsibilities of the organization. Since then, he is trying to get back into the services.
This year in January, Faesal broke his long silence and praised the government. Posting on microblogging site Twitter about vaccination program, Faesal wrote, “This is more than just a vaccination program. It’s good governance + human capital formation + nation building + India assuming global leadership as a Jagat Guru.”
In response to a tweet about whether he regrets his BBC interview, Faesal recently tweeted, “Oh Yes. One would have to be far more careful with words when talking about India’s internal matters to a global audience.”