Jammu and Kashmir governor Satya Pal Malik has held National Conference, Congress, Pakistan and separatists responsible for the protracted violent conflicts in Kashmir, but spared BJP and PDP from his attack.
In an exclusive interview to TOI, Malik, who took charge of the state in August, said that not only successive governments in New Delhi — excepting Vajpayee’s and Modi’s — even mainstream politicians played cynical roles and contributed to “the mess” in Kashmir. He blamed politicians of all parties, except those belonging to BJP and PDP.
“Barring late Mufti Sayeed and
Mehbooba Mufti, all other (Kashmiri) mainstream politicians created false hopes among Kashmiri people. All the politicians talked differently in New Delhi and talked something else here, as soon as they landed at the airport. This created mistrust among the people, particularly in the minds of the young Kashmiri boys,” Malik said.
The governor’s veiled reference was to the Abdullahs, who ruled the state for the most part, sometimes in alliance with Congress.
Underlining the negative role of successive central governments, Malik said the parties in power at the Centre manipulated (J&K) polls and also encouraged the formation of local governments by defection.
Notwithstanding his unfavourable view of Kashmiri mainstream politicians, Malik said he was still in favour of the birth of new regional political parties in the state. “That’s because it offers a wide political spectrum to the people so that they are not cheated at the hands of the limited number of parties active here,” he explained.
Blaming Hurriyat leaders and Pakistan, Malik said they were simply igniting violent tendencies in the minds of young Kashmiri people.
“Pakistan is the main player in sustaining terrorism in J&K. Terrorism has also become a part-time job for some young men in Kashmir. Just for Rs 500, a young man in Kashmir hurls a stone at the security forces,” the governor said.
“When LTTE, a powerful terror outfit with the support of nearly a dozen countries, could not achieve its goal in Sri Lanka, how is it possible for a few hundred terrorists in J&K to achieve what they want,” Malik asked.
“We have no problem with Pakistan, we want our people to realize the futility of gun and terrorism. We have to offer comfort to our own people. Give them good governance and reach out to them to redress their problems,” he added.
The governor also talked about the deep-rooted corruption in the state. “A government official has a palatial house in J&K. I have ordered all the government officers to disclose their properties within a specified time,” Malik said.
On holding local body elections starting Monday (October 8) despite terror attacks and threats, the governor said, “When elections could be held in Srinagar-Budgam (parliamentary seat) with only 7% votes polled in 2017, why can’t we hold polls for local bodies?”
He dismissed the fact that Kashmir’s two major political parties, NC and PDP, have boycotted the civic polls, saying: “They must have their own compulsions in not participating. They are, in fact, eyeing assembly polls.”
Regarding allegations of abuse committed by security forces in Kashmir, Malik defended them, saying it was unacceptable to throw stones on the soldiers while they were battling terrorists in a counter-insurgency operation.