SRINAGAR: In an interesting turn in gubernatorial statesmanship, Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik on Sunday suggested militants to kill the people who have plundered Kashmir for years. Malik hinted that in coming days, at least three former ministers – he said crocodiles – will have to seek bails from the courts in various corruption cases.
“These boys who have picked up guns are killing their own people; they are killing PSOs (personal security officer) and SPOs (special police officers),” Governor Malik said in his inaugural speech of the Kargil Tourism Festival 2019 at Khree Sultan Cho Sports Stadium Kargil. “Why are you killing them? Kill those who have looted the wealth of Kashmir. Have you killed any of them?”
Malik’s statement came in the backdrop of his detailed firsthand account about the state of corruption in the state and his efforts to root it out. Talking about Dal and Wullar lakes, Malik said he is unable to do anything because the officers are not working. He called for public pressure to make the bureaucracy work.
Terming corruption as the biggest disease inflicting Kashmir, Malik said while visiting Amarnath, he found the horse-men in modest clothing without even sweaters. “But in same Srinagar, there are officers who own 20-room houses having carpets worth crores,” Malik said. “Those who have retired have a house each in Maharani Bagh and Vasant Kunj.”
The governor said that if he had the mandate, he would file cases against all these people and recover the wealth they had plundered and restored it to the poor people of the state. “There is lot of poverty,” Malik insisted. “I cannot tell you the state of poverty in the Down Town, the main Srinagar. I cannot tell you what people do to fill their bellies.”
Malik said the “big dynasts” are living a “luxurious” life. “They have infinite wealth. They have a home here, in Delhi, In Dubai, in London and other parts of the world,” Malik said. “We try to see a big hotel in Srinagar and we come to know that these netas have stakes. They have stakes everywhere as they take the money of the poor.”
The governor said that as long as he is in Jammu and Kashmir, he will leave no stone unturned in fighting the menace of corruption. He said he and Mufti Sayeed resigned in wake of Bofors and then a poet said: “Hazoor Inko Kya Pakadyay Ga – Badi Machlioun Kay Samandhar Alaag Hein.” (How can you catch them when the big fish sail in different seas?)
But, the governor insisted, within two to three months, people will see three “big fish” – all former ministers – seeking bails from the court. “And then you clap for me,” the governor insisted.
It was at this point, he turned towards the “boys” – read the militants – saying they are engaged in a “useless battle against their own people”. They, he said are killing SPOs and PSOs for nothing. “Kill those who have looted the wealth of Kashmir. Have you killed any of them?”
Malik said the Kashmir politicians have a peculiar style of communication. “In Delhi, they create a fear (about Kashmiri youth),” Malik said, “In Srinagar, they provoke them.” His actual words were: “Dili Mein Daratay Hein, Yehan Badkatay Hein”. He added: “They should speak in one language at both places and need not scare us.”
Then he asserted the uselessness of the violence and the gun insisting that the government of India will never go down before a gun. The Governor explained that guns have never been the solution to problems. “There was an outfit called LTTE in Sri Lanka and it had support as well but it has also been finished,” he said.
Talking about militancy, the governor said that the numbers have dwindled to around 250 of whom 150 are Pakistanis and they die within two hours. “The youth who picked up guns are not even trained,” the governor said. “Instead of joining the militancy they should go for doctorate degrees and other professions to make their state and families proud.”
Governor Malik said the local youth are being brainwashed by the local Moulvis for attaining the Jannat. “I don’t doubt your religious point of view, but Moulvi Sahib is promising youth for a paradise after you die,” the governor argued. “I’m offering you two paradises; one while you are alive, and second after you die. For that, you need to live like a proper Muslim, develop the valley, study hard, and go for higher degrees.” Kashmir, he said is a heaven and Mughal Emperor Jehangir came down from his horse and said if there is heaven on earth, it is here.
But Governor Malik concluded his speech at a positive note. He said for the first time in 30 years, there was no strike when Home Minister visited Kashmir as Hurriyat avoided sponsoring a strike. “He said his plan to get Kashmiri Brahmins back home was supported by the Huriyat chief who said they must come back,” Governor said. “This means the situation is improving in Kashmir.”
From the past many years, a lot of difference is being seen among the people, the temper among the people is very slow, he said.
The Governor said the twin districts of Kargil and Leh have huge tourism potential and said more such tourism festivals were needed. He said the Kargil Airport’s expansion work will begin soon and that Rs 200 crore has been sanctioned for it. This will not only provide round-the-year connectivity but also give a new dimension to the tourism sector in the region, Malik said.
The Governor said the state administration is committed for the holistic development of Ladakh division and concrete measures were being pursued towards this goal.
The government is taking strict measures to bring transparency in the system and removing various bottlenecks in the path of progress, he added.
On the occasion, the Governor announced the establishment of two degree colleges in Kargil district, including a Women’s Degree College. He said a 2,500-MW solar power project will be set up soon, augmenting the power generation in Kargil.
National Conference leader and former J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah hit out at the governor and accused him of sanctioning unlawful killings.
“This man, ostensibly a responsible man occupying a constitutional position, tells militants to kill politicians perceived to be corrupt. Perhaps the man should find out about his own reputation in Delhi these days before sanctioning unlawful killings & kangaroo courts,” Omar tweeted.
Feroz Ahmad Khan, Chairman and Chief Executive Councillor LAHDC, Kargil expressed his gratitude to the Governor on behalf of the people of Kargil district for having fulfilled the long pending demands of the people by granting divisional status to Ladakh, creation of 495 posts for Ladakh Division and allotment of equal number of directorates to both districts, sanctioning of Rs 200 crores for expansion of Kargil Airport and Rs 280 crores for completion of languishing projects.
The CEC also projected several demands and sought the intervention of the Governor for their early redressal including establishment of women’s police station and IRP Battalion in the district, early start of work on Zojila Tunnel and release of the pending dues of casual labourers.
Various multicultural music and dance performances were presented by the artists of the Purgi, Balti and Shina Dardi ethnic tribes and a polo exhibition match was also organized to mark the occasion.
Governor Satya Pal Malik , an official spokesman said listened to public grievances here today as several delegations and individuals apprised him about their issues and demands.
Around 16 delegations including All Zanskar Coordination Committee, Employees Joint Action Committee (EJAC), Bar Association Kargil , Anjuman Jamiat-ul-Ulama Isna Ashria Kargil, Imam Khomeini Memorial Trust (IKMT) Kargil, Anjuman e Sahab Zaman Sankoo Suru, Ladakh Buddhist Association Kargil Unit , Students Educational Movement of Kargil (Ladakh) and other religious, political and social organizations projected their issues and developmental concerns and sought their redressal.
The deputations put forth their demands for grant of district status to Zanskar, delimitation of Zanskar Assembly Constituency, speedy construction of Nimo-Padum-Darcha Road, early completion of works on the 200 bedded hospital at Kurbathang, opening of Kargil- Skardu road, establishment of multi specialty hospital, establishment of public libraries in various blocks, revival of adventure tourism activities and development of winter sports in the district.
Other demands raised by the delegations included delimitation of LAHDC Kargil constituencies, tourism development package for upliftment of Buddhist monuments, grant of district status and Assembly segment to Drass, construction of Panikhar-Pahalgam-Kishtwar, Hanu-Turtuk and Drass-Tilel-Gurez-Bandipora roads, preservation of the colossal Buddha statues, sanctioning of Special Duty Allowance (SDA) in favour of employees working in Ladakh Division, establishment of Consumer Court in district and early start of work on the construction of Court Complex at Kurbathang Kargil.
Governor gave a patient hearing to all the issues put forth by the delegations and assured them due examination of their demands.