Shah Faesal
Kashmir's first IAS topper, Shah FaesalShah Faesal/ Facebook

Shah Faesal, the first Indian Administrative Services (IAS) topper from Kashmir valley is furious with certain Indian TV News channels for projecting him against Burhan Wani, the Hizbul Mujahideen commander who was killed recently in an encounter.

The channels are running a 'good-boy-bad boy' campaign which supports Faesal against Wani. An angry Faesal has named the channels and has threatened to resign if the 'jingoist media channels' do not stop making him a part of their alleged propaganda.

Faesal, who is currently serving as the Director, Education department, Kashmir has said that he does not want to be a part of any such propoganda. 

The IAS topper has alleged that the channels like 'Times Now, Zee News, Aaj tak and NewsX are not reporting facts about Kashmir.

According to him, in the last few years, a section of the national media has been misrepresenting the idea of India in Kashmir, as part of a business strategy. It has also been projecting lies about Kashmir to rest of the country. It has happened in 2008, in 2010, and in 2014."

"Almost all the programmes on Kashmir right now are aimed to provoke people. The coverage is selective, and intention appears to be to compound the problems for the state government. The print media, though, has always maintained balance. I have no hesitation in saying that Zee News, Times Now, NewsX and Aaj Tak are at the vanguard of a movement that will take India from a dialogical civilisation to a dumb, illogical civilisation," he wrote in the Indian Express.

Faesal earlier said in his Facebook post: "By juxtaposing my photos with the images of a slain militant commander, a section of national media has once again fallen back upon its conventional savagery that cashes in on falsehoods, divides people and creates more hatred."

He has said that even as Kashmiris are  mourning their dead, the propaganda being dished out from the newsrooms is breeding more alienation and anger in Kashmir, something the Indian state may not be able to manage.

"Personal vulnerability apart, the very fact of becoming a part of a ridiculous debate is something which has disturbed me very much. Have I joined IAS to do a job or to become a part of your sadistic propaganda machine? In fact when I qualified this exam, I never thought of spending my whole life scratching the desk and if this nonsense around me continues, I might prefer to resign sooner than later," he said.

 "I was alerted by an unknown caller that Zee News had been running a marathon discussion for past two days on the current crisis, and my photographs and videos were also being juxtaposed with the visuals, dead and alive, of young local militants from Kashmir, as some sort of a clash of role models."

"It has perturbed me a lot — not only for the sheer insensitivity and shallowness with which this is being done, but also for the security risk that it is posing to my life. I am puzzled, because, with a Rs 50,000 monthly salary and a Rs 50 lakh housing loan I am certainly not the best example of a successful Kashmiri youngster," a write-up by Faesal in Indian Express today said.

According to Faesal, going to work has become difficult since he has to face the angry protestors, who think he has consciously projected himself against militants.

"Who would want to die for Rs 50,000 and die unattended, at that? My fears were proven right -soon, I was told, there was a huge mob outside our colony. They were rallying against the remarks of a Zee News anchor asking the dead militants to be burnt along with garbage instead of being buried in India's land. The studio and the street are competing with each other," he wrote. 

He added that the next day he had to leave for office, incognito, wearing a kurta-pyjama and a farmer's cap, hopping across check posts like a thief. He knew very well that if a group of enraged youngsters recognised him, he could be in trouble. "And rightly so, for falling on the wrong side of the Kashmiri vs Indian binary at such a critical juncture. Abusive comments on my Facebook wall had the same refrain," Faesal said.

Faesal also appealed the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi to take the lead in bridging the trust-deficit between India and Kashmiris.

"Ask teenagers in Srinagar and they will tell you how all these years India has been communicating to Kashmiris through rigged elections, dismissal of elected governments, encounters and corruption. They will tell you how India has become synonymous with a military bunker or a police vehicle or a ranting panelist on primetime television. Is this the idea of India which can win Kashmiri hearts? Accepting what India and its symbols stand for in the eyes of a Kashmiri is the first step towards untangling this knot," he said.

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