IAS officer Shah Faesal and former student leader Shehla Rashid Shora have withdrawn petitions they filed before Supreme Court challenging the scrapping of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir in 2019.
A five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud today allowed Faesal and Shehla to withdraw their petitions and directed that their names be deleted from the list of petitioners.
Faesal first hit headlines in 2009 by topping the civil services entrance exam UPSC – the first Kashmiri to do so. Following several government postings, he resigned from service in 2019 to protest “unabated killings in Kashmir”. In a Facebook post, he accused the centre of marginalising Indian Muslims and subverting public institutions. He then launched a political party, Jammu & Kashmir Peoples’ Movement.
Shehla Rashid, who has served as vice-president of the students’ union at Jawaharlal Nehru University, rose to prominence during the agitation demanding the release of several student leaders, including Kanhaiya Kumar and Umar Khalid, arrested on charges of sedition in 2016. Kanhaiya is now a Congress leader. Khalid is in jail in connection with a Delhi riots case. Shehla Rashid later joined Shah Faesal’s party.
Faesal was among the Kashmir leaders detained after the centre scrapped Article 370, which granted Jammu and Kashmir special status, and bifurcated the state into two Union Territories. In August 2020, the Jammu & Kashmir Peoples’ Movement announced that Faesal was relieved as a party member on his request. Shehla Rashid has also left the party.
Last year, he applied for reinstatement in government service and moved to withdraw his resignation. His application was accepted.
In a recent Twitter post, Faesal said Article 370 is now a “thing of the past”.
“370, for many Kashmiris like me, is a thing of the past. Jhelum and Ganga have merged in the great Indian Ocean for good. There is no going back. There is only marching forward,” he said.