Kashmir’s first topper in the Indian civil services examination on Friday accused a section of the electronic media of “pitching one Kashmiri against another and breeding more alienation” in the state rocked by violence over the killing of militant leader Burhan Wani.
Shah Faesal, whose success in the 2009 civil services exams has turned him into a role-model for Kashmiri youngsters, vented his anger in a Facebook post after a section of media juxtaposed his images with the slain militant commander to highlight what they said were two sides of the Valley.
“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 on falsehoods, divides people and creates more hatred,” the 33-year-old IAS officer wrote.
Wani’s death in an encounter on July 8 has triggered a wave of violence in the valley that has left more than 40 people dead in street clashes between protesters and security forces.
“At a moment when Kashmir is mourning its dead, the propaganda and provocation being dished out from red and blue newsrooms is breeding more alienation and anger in Kashmir than what Indian state can manage.”
He also threatened to quit his government post as the director in the education department if media did not stop drawing the comparison.
Besides making him vulnerable, Faesal said he was saddened by becoming part of the “ridiculous debate” surrounding him.
“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 added.
Faesal also criticised the government’s handling of the situation saying “when a state kills and maims its own citizens, it’s self-injury and self-decimation of the worst sort”.
Faesal found support from other another IAS officer Yasin Chaudhary who said some news channels “are not going to tell you the truth about Kashmir.”
“Sadly, our national news channels have been incessantly showing hate filled, vitriolic reporting which is meant to deliberately vilify these Kashmiri protestors…,” he wrote in a Facebook post.
“I urge you to please don’t accept this inhuman idea under the excuse of national security and integrity. This is the point where nationalism turns into aggression and xenophobia.”