IAS officer-turned-politician Shah Faesal, who decided to quit active politics a few days ago, tells TNIE’s Fayaz Wani that the Centre’s August 5, 2019 decision has changed facts on the ground and that there is no grey space for electoral politics that existed earlier in Jammu and Kashmir.
What prompted you to quit politics 17 months after launching your own party and giving hope to people, especially youth?
August 5 decisions have changed facts on the ground. It’s taking time for people to come to terms with it. We might deny it but the fact is that the present Constitution of India has no space for the grey zone electoral politics that used to happen in J&K. I’m quitting so that I can articulate honestly. In politics, we are compelled to be politically correct. I don’t want to raise false expectations
When did you first think of quitting politics?
It was while in detention that I realised that if people want me to do politics of special status, I must be forthright in telling them that I don’t have the power to get these Articles (370 and 35A) back given the current national consensus.
Do you think your quitting politics would be a betrayal of the youth?
Not at all. I am being very honest with them. Some people had developed wrong expectations thinking that I am going to start an agitation. Many of them are disappointed and I feel sad for them.
You have said that a perception was created that you are anti-national. Was this because of your stand on Article 370 revocation?
More so due to my resignation. As I said, an innocuous act of dissent was seen as a seditious act.
Does it mean that anybody who talks in favour of Article 370 revocation is anti-national?
There is a general consensus in India at this time that its abrogation led to national integration. In a democracy, the consensus has to be respected.
You have said you don’t want to sell false dreams. Does it mean that mainstream politicians are selling false dreams?
No, I don’t mean that. Politicians in Kashmir are gradually coming to terms with the new realities. They are doing a great job by promoting the democratic process. All I’m saying is that I can’t do politics over the special status when I know I have no power to get it back.
What are your future plans? There is speculation that you will be joining back administration. Word is that you may become a member of Advisory Council of Lt Governor
I have no idea how these rumours are spread. I am taking life with an open mind and am ready to spread some positivity if and when I get a chance.
Is there any possibility of again returning to politics in future?
I don’t think so. I have learnt a lot during the past one year. I don’t want to be known as a resignation man who hops from place to place. I want to settle down and focus on my work.
How tough is it to do politics in Kashmir after Article 370 revocation?
Mainstream electoral politics isn’t going to end. We are a parliamentary democracy and sooner or later the democratic process will get revived.
It’s a matter of time. These difficulties remain in a conflict zone but I’m sure things will ease with time.