Shah Faesal, a former bureaucrat and novice politician who aspired to be Kashmir’s Imran Khan, winked to a BJP leader as his intense praise for Prime Minister Narendra Modi and vaccine programme drew him criticism and trolls.
Faesal broke his long silence on Friday with intensive praise for Modi and said the COVID19 vaccination programme was “good governance + human capital formation + nation building”. “India assuming global leadership as a Jagat Guru (spiritual leader of universe),” he said on Twitter.
Faesal’s tweet was responded by BJP’s Kapil Mishra who wrote: “370 स्वाहा (Svaha)”. Svaha is a Sanskrit word chanted whenever a fire sacrifice is made in the Hindu religion. Faesal responded to Mishra by winking at him.
Mishra had made an inflammatory speech in the run-up to Delhi riots last year in which 50 people, most of them Muslims, were killed.
Faesal, a former IAS officer who quit the administrative service to join politics and launched his own political party, was earlier trolled for his COVID19 vaccine comment and was called “stooge”. Some accused him of changing sides.
In 2018, Faesal got enrolled in the mid-career Master of Public Administration (MPA) program at Harvard Kennedy School as a Fulbright Scholar. Later, on his return to Jammu and Kashmir, he quit civil services and launched Jammu Kashmir People’s Movement (JKPM) in January 2019.
When on 5 August 2019, the BJP government revoked Article 370 amid communication blockade and siege, Faesal had expressed his resentment. He was arrested after his interview with the BBC in which he said that 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.”
On the day of launching his party, he had said that he was deeply inspired by Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan. He had also tried to imitate Khan by dressing in a Pathani suit at his party’s inaugural event.