Kashmir’s new Governor Satya Pal Malik has begun his inning by a series of interviews. Camping in Delhi for the last few days, he has talked to various media outlet there to convey his priorities.
On Tuesday, Malik was quoted saying that people of Jammu and Kashmir need to be assured that “neither they nor we are aliens, we are friends”.
“I am not going there to do any politics. I am going there to make an environment of peace,” Zee News quoted Malik saying. His priority as the Governor, the report said, would be to reach out to people and win their trust.
Malik said that while holding dialogue with stakeholders in Jammu and Kashmir is not his mandate, he will nonetheless “meet, greet and dine with political leaders”.
“I am meeting interlocutor tomorrow and will take feedback,” news gatherer ANI quoted Malik saying. “I will hold dialogue with people of the state. Addressing the issues of the people is our main aim.”
The report quoted Malik saying that he is going to the state with an open mind, not a closed one. “I am not going there with a closed mind. Also, we must look at the positive side. Kashmir’s football team recently defeated Mohun Bagan, Amarnath Yatra passed off peacefully. So, I will go and talk to the people there and hear their issues,” it added.
Malik told reporters that his government is going to resolve the problem of stone-pelting in the state. “Incidents of stone-pelting have come down. Right now, I am not in a position to say more but we are going to resolve the issues,” he was quoted saying.
“Earlier there was a section that paid money to them for stone pelting. But after raids by the Enforcement Directorate, there has been a decline in it,” Malik told Zee News. “We would solve issues because of which the youth are angry. We will give them jobs, promote sports, music, and arts. Why would there be stone pelting if we fulfill the aspirations of the youth.”
Malik said he has also got the freeze on MLAs’ funds lifted. “As Assembly was in suspended animation, the MLAs’ funds were frozen. I talked to the PM and got the funds released so that MLAs can spend on development of their constituency,” Malik has stated.
“I will ensure that the administration is at the beck and call of the people and there are no complaints about governance. I have already asked deputy commissioners to hold a meeting with locals every week and directed the advisers to visit every district headquarters once in a week to meet the people,” Malik was quoted by PTI saying.
Malik had called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday. “We have a prime minister who is very Kashmir friendly and has the best understanding about Kashmir and he has advised me to reach out to the people as much as I can,” Malik said, in an apparent reference to his meeting.
Asked whether the holding of local body elections figured in the list of priorities, Malik has said: “It does definitely. After all empowering local bodies are essential for people. I will ensure that there is a free flow of funds to the elected representatives in this way we will ensure that fruits of development reach the grassroots.”
Asked about youth joining militancy, the governor said: “I know it’s a problem. I have a blueprint in my mind and I will definitely ensure that the misguided youths are engaged with and brought back into family life.” He has not explained his idea, though.
According to a report published by Zee News, the Kashmir governor said he would make attempts to ensure that “people of the state do not get influenced by Pakistan”.
Malik took the oath of office on August 22 and took off for Patna. He flew to Delhi on Monday and is yet to return to Raj Bhawan. He is the second politician in the history of Kashmir who will be the governor, a position usually held by civil servants or the members of the services. From the socialist background, the 72-year-old Malik has worked for many political parties and finally joined BJP where he reached a position of Vice President. He was appointed Bihar governor only last year.
During his stay in Delhi, Malik called on Prime Minister and later the Home Minister Rajnath Singh. He may also be meeting other top functionaries of the government before his return to Srinagar. Interestingly, Kashmir media was not invited to his oath ceremony on August 22. He also choose media outlets in Delhi to convey his priorities.