Shah Faisal blames center for “escalation” of violence in the Valley

SRINAGAR: Shah Faesal, former Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer from Jammu and Kashmir who recently announced plans to form his own political party and contest elections, blamed the Centre for the “escalation” of violence in the Valley.

While speaking at a ‘Meet the Press’ programme organised by Pune Union of Working Journalists on Thursday, Faesal said that there was definitely an escalation of violence in Kashmir and if somebody was responsible for it, it was the Centre.

In 2009, Faesal became the first Kashmiri to top the civil services exam and joined the IAS in the Jammu and Kashmir cadre. Recently, he resigned from the civil service and decided to join politics.

The former bureaucrat said that when India and Pakistan were engaged in talks over the years, the overall situation in the Valley was better. “Whenever the two nations spoke, lives of people on both sides became easy. So both countries should resume talks.”

He stressed that the people in India have to realise that the problem in Jammu and Kashmir is political and the only way to solve it is through dialogue.

Faesal said that he was as yet undecided about contesting the upcoming Lok Sabha polls although plans are on to float a new party. “When I quit the IAS, I had no plans to start a new political outfit. However, given the response I have received from the people of Jammu and Kashmir, I have decided to form a party for which I have received thousands of suggestions from the people.”

On abrogating Article 370 of the Indian Constitution that gives autonomous status to Jammu and Kashmir, a contentious issue for decades, Faesal said, “India cannot afford to do that if it expects better relationship with Jammu and Kashmir. There is a need to address violence first rather than talking about bringing changes in the Constitution.” (PTK)