In August 2018, Delhi preferred a politician to the hawk in nearly five decades and Satya Pal Malik was shifted from Bihar to Kashmir to replace NN Vohra, J&K’s longest-serving governor. However, the exchange of baton was unique, silently unquiet. The two men did not meet.
A native of Meerut in western UP, Malik shifted his political allegiance several times in the past. A former socialist leader, he was with the Congress in the 1980s and joined the BJP in 2004 and reached to the level of vice president.
In Kashmir, when he first time met media during a function, he said, “the governor is not entitled to talk as this is the constitutional post.” Later, he talked about anything and everything, confidently. Even his Fax machine became part of Kashmir history when it did not receive the letters of support to form an elected government.
Malik hit everywhere. The first shot was at Delhi: “Had I looked towards Delhi (the centre), then I would have been forced to invite Sajjad Lone to form the government. Then I would have gone down in history as unscrupulous. But I ended the whole thing.” He even talked about his “possible transfer”. This compelled Lone to react and say he felt “offended”.
The embarrassment did not stop him. In anticipation of results, Malik announced the name of Srinagar’s “foreign educated” Mayor. He justified the action of forces in Kashmir “those who fire upon troops won’t get bouquet in return”. But his consistency remained to lash out at valley-based politicians. Many times, he said, they had become defunct and were losing their base, which was why they were resorting to communalism. His accusations rallied from communalism to corruption. “In Kashmir, the politicians and bureaucrats have accumulated wealth and have become wealthy and “those engaged in corruption are the ones defaming the people of the State.”
Urged to observe restraint by state politicians, Malik did not budge. Recently, when Mehbooba asked him to investigate the beating of civilians, Malik reacted. “Elections are just around the corner. Her party is breaking apart. She got power by this tactic only and now she is only trying to save her party by commenting against the forces and India’s political system. So she needs not to be taken seriously”. Omar Abdullah tweeted, “Governor Sb this is an unacceptable statement. At this rate it won’t stop taking Raj Bhavan seriously so please consider the office you occupy before you give statements.”
The recent shot he played was to give Ladakh a divisional status; a move again reacted by the valley based politicians of being partisan with Pir Panchal and Chenab Valley. However, Malik continues to remain undeterred, both in words and deeds.
– Tasavur Mushtaq