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Shah Faesal stopped from going overseas, detained under PSA in Srinagar

Deeptiman Tiwary
Faesal is the first Kashmiri to top the IAS exams in 2009.

Amid the clampdown in J&K following the abrogation of Article 370, Shah Faesal, the Kashmiri IAS officer who resigned this year to take up politics, was prevented on Wednesday from boarding a flight from Delhi to Istanbul and taken to Srinagar where he was detained under the Public Safety Act (PSA) and placed under house arrest, officials said.

Home ministry sources said Faesal was detained by immigration authorities at the Indira Gandhi International Airport around 5.30 am. They said he was handed over to Delhi Police, which put him on a flight to Srinagar. In Srinagar, sources said, Faesal was detained by J&K Police under the PSA.

Faesal had been in Delhi since the abrogation of Article 370 by the government this month. Security sources said he was detained on the basis of a "perception of threat to public order due to his activities". The detention was based on a report from the J&K administration, they said.

"There is a likelihood that political leaders will go abroad and try to foment trouble in the Valley from there. We can't have a situation of a government-in-exile," an official said.

Faesal is the first Kashmiri to top the IAS exams in 2009. Early this year, he resigned to set up J&K People's Movement with an aim to join mainstream politics.

Faesal has been vocal in his criticism of the government's decision on the removal of special status to and bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir. In an interview to The Indian Express published on August 10, he had said: "I see it as a catastrophic turn in our collective history, a day when everybody is feeling that it is a death knell to our identity, our history, our right to our land, our right to our existence."

With Faesal's detention, almost all known political leaders from Kashmir are behind bars. Former chief ministers Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti were detained on the night before the Article 370 announcement. Independent MLA Engineer Rashid was arrested last week by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in connection with a terror-funding case.

Sources said more than 500 workers of various political parties are under detention in Jammu and Kashmir.

Home ministry officials said these steps were taken to prevent a flare-up of violence in the Valley. They maintained that the situation in the Valley was calm barring a few episodes of stone-pelting.

Sources said constant assessment of the situation was being conducted by the local administration and that the current restrictions on movement and communication would be gradually lifted.