Srinagar: The spotlight is on Shah Faesal, a doctor from Kashmir who topped the civil services examination 2010, but for the first time this year there are three other Kashmiris who have also made it to the elite bureaucratic list.
Rayees Ahmad Ganai, a resident of south Kashmir`s Anantnag district, Showkat Ahmad Parray from north Kashmir`s Baramulla district and Umair from Srinagar are the other three selected this year.
According to Ganai, the civil services exams were not as tough as perceived to be.
"It is a myth that these exams are difficult to pass. Focused studies, right choice of the optional subjects, right reading material and above all the confidence that one can do it is the mantra to pass these exams," he said.
"The role of Jamia Milia Islamia in Delhi is also commendable for providing coaching to the IAS aspirants," said Ganai, who is number 48 in the all-India merit list of the civil services exam.
Parray said their achievement would disprove certain notions about Kashmiris.
"More Kashmiris will crack such exams in the coming years. There was a general notion that Kashmiris cannot clear this highly competitive exam. Through our hard work, we have proved this notion wrong," he said.
"It is after 17 years that Kashmiri youth have made it to the IAS (Indian Administrative Service)," said a local IAS officer.
"In 1993, Asgar Hassan Samoon, presently secretary consumer affairs and public distribution department, made it to the coveted list. Earlier, Khurshid Ahmad Ganai had stood second in the all-India merit for the civil service exams in 1982," the official said.
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said in a statement that Faesal had shown the way forward to Kashmiri students and that he had proved that given a level playing field, Kashmiris were second to none in the country.
Union Health Minister and former chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad added in his message that Faesal`s accomplishment should inspire youngsters in Kashmir to compete in similar exams at the national level.