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Kashmir topper reaches home to hero’s welcome


Srinagar : Shah Faesal, the first Kashmiri to top the prestigious civil services examination, arrived here Friday to a hero’s welcome from family, friends and well-wishers and declared that he had decided to join the IAS when his father was killed by gunmen.

“I had decided that very moment that I will not allow my father’s tragic death at the hands of gunmen to break my will,” said Faesal, for whom village drummers had come all the way from north Kashmir’s Sogam village to greet him in traditional style.

“I vowed to work hard and join the country’s most elite civil service,” Faesal told mediapersons, referring to the Indian Administrative Service (IAS).

The Gul Bahar residential colony in uptown Srinagar, the present home of the Shahs after they shifted from Sogam after Faesal’s father was slain in 2002, was agog with activity.

Faesal’s house had been illuminated with electric lights, and women sang traditional Kashmiri welcome songs. Neighbours, relatives, friends, Faesal’s colleagues and local RTI activists — he himself was one during his student days — showered rose petals on their hero.

Wearing a black suit and tie, Faesal looked smart, confidence the Kashmir village youth had gained by topping the most prestigious examination in the country radiated from his face.

His mother Mubeena was unable to control her emotions. She shed tears of joy.

“I have proved it for myself and on behalf the youth of Kashmir that given the right opportunities and guidance, we can work wonders,” Faesal said.

“I will serve my people especially those belonging to my Kupwara home district,” he said, as relatives and friends literally carried him inside his home on their shoulders.

Faesal attained the first rank in the civil services examination of 2009, and he has expressed a desire to join the IAS.