Guv asks militants to shun violence, hold talks

Governor Satya Pal Malik addressing a press conference at SKICC in Srinagar on Wednesday. —Excelsior/Shakeel
Governor Satya Pal Malik addressing a press conference at SKICC in Srinagar on Wednesday. —Excelsior/Shakeel

‘You can’t make India bow through violence’

Fayaz Bukhari
Srinagar, June 12: Governor Satya Pal Malik today asked the militants to give up arms for holding talks within the Constitution as they cannot make India bow through violence.
Speaking to reporters at SKICC during a press Conference Malik asked the militants that they can get whatever they want within Indian constitution. “Whatever you can get is through talks and dialogue. You have your own Constitution, you have a separate flag. Whatever more you want, you will get it through democratic process and within the ambit of the Indian constitution,” he said.
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He asked militants to join dialogue as they can’t bow India through violence. “Take everything from us, we will give our life but through love and dialogue. For that (PM) Narendra Modi is ready, we are ready. Come to the dialogue table and take it forward. You cannot make India to bow through violence. People may not realise it now, 10 years down the line they will repent that they had chosen the wrong path”, he said.
“I have been repeatedly saying that arms would not render anything. LTTE, a militant organization that enjoyed the support of 10-nations was decimated. What would these handfuls of boys achieve here?”, he said.
Malik said the problem in Kashmir is only because of unemployment among the youth but compounded by politicians misleading the people for past so many decades. “There is unemployment in entire country but unemployed persons in the country do not pick up weapons against the Government. There is something more here. The basic thing here is that the leaders have not told the truth to the people. People have been misled and shown false dreams which will never be fulfilled,” he said.
“People have been shown the dream of Azadi (independence) and sometime autonomy. When these things did not work, they were shown the dreams of paradise through radicalisations. I want to tell the youth that they have two paradises -one is Kashmir and if they become good muslims, they will get the other one also. There is no guarantee that they will get it through the violence … nobody has told them this. Youth are being indoctrinated and they are glorified through whatsapp and other (social media) as if they are fighting for Allah and nation. This is all nonsense,” the Governor said.
He said there was a lot of talk about the presence of Islamic State (IS) in Kashmir but the IS has been beaten where it emanated from. “These are ways of destruction for Kashmir. I want to tell the youth of Kashmir, drop your guns and come to Rajbhawan to have lunch with me. Then explain to me what good will Kashmir get from the path you have chosen”, he said.
Malik said various religious sects were leading the youth on the wrong path in Kashmir.”These Barelvis and Deobandis who were brought here some time back and now the new ones have come with the support of Saudi Arabia, they are showing them the wrong path.. This is not Islam. I am ready to debate with anyone on this. I am not a Muslim but I understand Islam better than many Muslims. There is no room for this (violence) in Islam. But they will not say this to the youth,” he said.
The Governor said it was the job of the mainstream political parties which still command respect and the people look up to them to tell the people about the truth. “They have to muster courage and tell them. I request the mainstream leaders, preachers and intelligentia to bring back these youth and whatever is needed for their rehabilitation, we will do it,” he said.
Malik said that insurgency in Kashmir is facing fatigue. “In every insurgency, there comes a time when fatigue sets in. That time has come in Kashmir,” he added.
Asked about Pakistan’s present role in the situation in Kashmir, the Governor said Pakistan is itself in trouble. “There is a realization there that we cannot fool youth of Kashmir for too long that we will break India to give you something. (Gen Pervez) Musharraf had told the (Kashmiri) leaders here that he cannot do it as India is a superpower. Whatever you want to get take within this system. There is demoralisation and fatigue factor in Pakistan but still they do not give up, there camps are running as earlier,” he said.
Malik said the security forces are alert and infiltrators are dealt with within 10 kilometres of the Line of Control. “New recruitment (of militants) has come down. A big reason for that is that we have adopted a sympathetic attitude towards our youth. I believe that Kashmir problem will be solved through these youth only. Talks with leaders cannot do it as they have been lying to the people for past 50 years,” he added.
On the timing of assembly elections, he said the time to hold polls will be decided by the Election Commission of India. “It is between Union Home Ministry and Election Commission. I cannot comment on this. If the security (numbers) we require for holding elections are provided to us, we are ready to hold elections. We have held peaceful elections (Panchayat and Parliament) but for Assembly elections, the security requirement are different,” he said.
The Election Commission will decide the dates after going through the assessment of security environment made by the concerned agencies, he said.
Chief Secretary B V R Subrahmanyam, who was also present at the briefing along with Advisors to the Governor, said the Election commission has given a unanimous statement that they will make an announcement about Assembly elections in the state after the Amarnath yatra.
The Governor, responding to a question about the challenge to Articles 370 and 35A, said these are in manifestos of many political parties and there is a lot of talk going about it.”However, there is nothing to worry on this front. There is a rumour about delimitation, it is not something that can be done overnight as it is a constitutional matter. Even the Home Ministry has not confirmed that they are doing something like that. There are basically just rumours and newspapers reports only, there is no basis in these,” he said.
Malik made a startling claim that he Rs 300 crore kick backs would have exchanged hands if he had not cancelled two State Government deals after taking charge of the State last year. “As far as corrution is concerned, after I came here (as Governor), I cancelled two deals in which Rs 150 crore each was agreed upon (as kick backs). I spoke to secretaries and they admitted that such a thing had happened. Very powerful people were involved,” he said.
The Governor said he had to go to the Prime Minister and tell him that he has to cancel these deals.”In one there was Reliance, which was not giving the money (kick backs) but another company was giving. I asked the PM if I had the permission to cancel this deal or I will sign on the paper and will not continue (as Governor),” he claimed.
Malik said that some of the people involved in those cancelled deals were so powerful that they had “direct approach to the Prime Minister”. He said while the government will catch the small fish any time, even the big fish will not get away. “We are under the scanner of the Centre and the Prime Minister. You can rest assured that a beginning has been made,” he said.
The Governor said the State government has reconstituted the Anti-Corruption Bureau and some cases been referred to it.”Some cases have been sent to it including some cases where people upto the rank of (then) Ministers were involved. You will come to know about it in few days,” he said.
Malik said although he had been in public life for 50 years, he had to seek a bank loan to pay for a flat. “I was taking care of studies of an orphan. When my wife was suffering from cancer, she told me to give her a flat. I had to take a bank loan to pay the Rs 50 lakh that was to be paid in white even though I have been an MLA, MP and minister four times. So I have no fear .. I will deal with it (corruption) very strictly,” he added.
The Governor said while there were many clean and honest Secretaries in the government, and he would request those indulging in minor corruption to stop it. “Corruption is there and corruption is more in Kashmir than in rest of the country. The reason for it is that the ruling elite was itself involved in it. Now that is not going to happen.
“A politician once told me that you are maligning (them). I told him I am not maligning anyone. Everywhere in the country they ask for two per cent, in Kashmir they ask for 12 per cent. That is why no investments come here. If you want to open a restaurant, it takes four years to get the license,” Malik said.
Malik said even victims of militancy-related violence had to pay bribes to get the appointment orders on compassionate grounds. “Even the families who have been affected by the militants and has an SRO has to pay bribes to get the benefits. Things do not move at even pace here and it takes months for a file to move from one table to another. If you can tell the youth of the State that the children of bureaucrats and politician will not be favored over them the military will end”, he said.
Subrahmanyam said as part of anti-corruption campaign, the government has formed several fact-finding committees of senior secretaries with impeccable reputation. “They will submit reports this month. The action will be taken immediately. This is extremely important for us. our ACB is as powerful as CBI,” he said.
The chief secretary said the government has given teeth to the ACB for dealing with the menace of corruption.
“We have amended the act in December. All of this takes time; we cannot pounce on anyone with a toothless body. The lion’s teeth need to be sharpened and that is what we have done. It is a very powerful body with zero tolerance for corruption. Those who have done something wrong are going to face consequences,” he added.
The Governor said that they will launch massive youth outreach programme in Kashmir. “Youth are somehow unhappy and it comes out from a variety of reasons. It could be due to lack of job and education opportunities and the bulk of them are between the age around 15-25. Before the end of the month, we will be coming with a massive outreach program. We need to touch the hearts of the people and tell them that life is about living and not dying. We will reach out to them to make them understand the value of life and are hopeful that will succeed”, he said.
The Chief Secretary said that the State was missing Rs 300 Crores in absence of Panchayats. “The annual grants which go directly to Panchayats from Finance Commission are in excess of Rs 1000 crores a year and allowed to retain 10% of that for administrative expenses. “That means Rs 100 crores are for administrative expenses and 900 crores are to be spent on Panchayats per year. If we look at the backlogs we have a Rs 3000 crore backlog that means we have Rs 300 cores available for the administrative expenses. Salaries for Panches and sarpanches amount for Rs 10-12 crores per month. None of this is coming from the State budget. We are missing a grant of Rs 300 crores from the State because we do not have panchayats” he said.
“Same is with Urban bodies. If we look at the salaries structure of Urban bodies etcetera. Rs 9 crores are the annual cost of additional salaries and but have to see the money which we are likely to get in two years. This year we will be getting Rs 1500 crores for Urban local bodies for the financial year. Do not focus on the salaries of Mayors, focus on what the State was missing from 30 years. Today Rs 120 crores has gone to Srinagar Municipality which has nothing to do we State Government. One crore on their salaries should not concern us but what will happen to the remain Rs 119 cores”, the CS said.
About sports infrastructure, the Governor said that the indoor Sports stadium will be dedicated to sports only. This, he said, when asked why non sporting activities are held there. “From today it will be dedicated to sports only”, he said.
Governor earlier, lashed out at the media in New Delhi for showing Kashmir negatively. “If a person dies in Kashmir, the news remains there for days. To destroy the tourism in Kashmir they are up for only negatives”, he said.
“Soon, we started efforts to conduct the Panchayat elections. I went to meet both the leaders (PDP and NC) of the mainstream parties, which was against the protocol. I told them that the elections were in their favour and not in the favour of Delhi. It was aimed at the bringing the governance to the grass root level, it was in the favour of the State. Even Farooq sahib stood with me in this that the elections were in the favour of people, no matter that his party decided something else”, he said.
“We faced quite a difficulty in that; there were threats from the terrorists, boycott from the Hurriyat Conference and both the major political parties decided to boycott the exercise”, he said.
Governor said that he was proud of Kashmiris for voting in local bodies despite threats. “In spite of all this, we went ahead and conducted the polls and what was encouraging in all that was 74 per cent people cast their votes, apart from other places where there was a low voter turnout even in Parliamentary elections. What was a good thing in all this that not even bird was hurt during the process. People were being threatened, but people are to be thanked that they came out and votes. We are proud of Kashmiris for that”, he said.
“Panchayat were given Rs 600 crore from the Centre and additional Rs 2000 crores are also coming. Rs 3500 crores were given to the Municipalities. We have fanalized salaries to the level of sarpanchs; Rs 50,000 for the Mayor and Rs 20,000 for the Deputy Mayor. Rs 10,000 for Coporators and for President Municipal Committee Rs 15,000”, he said.
Malik said that Ladakh council has been given manifold powers and people of the region are happy with it. “There has been a manifold increase in the powers that have been conferred upon the Ladakh Council; people are happy with it, while, others are saying that they now do not want the Union Territory status and that they were happy with the council itself. We have given Ladakh the status of Division and have also given them a University. Apart from this we have also given airport to Kargil and it will soon be ready”, he said.
“I am always open for people, I get Whatsapp messages even in the midnight and I can even count the instances where we have acted on the basis of those messages, so we act immediately and we try that the issues are resolved as soon as possible”, he said.
“We are going to start ‘Back to the Village’ program, under this, 1000 gazetted officers will go the villages and will stay their overnight. During their stay they will interact with people and will listen to their issues”, the Governor said.
“In terms of education, 52 colleges were announced earlier, now we have decided to add 50 more, and the total of 102 colleges will be given, with main focus on the colleges for the girls. 280 junior schools have been upgraded to the next level and more 250 such schools will also be upgraded soon”, he said.
He said 36000 ReTs have been regularized, more such posts will be created as well. “There has been an addition of 1100 MBBS seats in health sector, which is unprecedented. If Doda is also given a go, the number will reach to 1300”, he said.
“We are first in the entire Country when it comes to the Ayushman Bharat. Mass rapid transport system will be implemented here, which will be a kind of mini metro thing which will be started. The DPR of which has been completed. Master Plans for Jammu and Srinagar have been prepared. We will built 1 Lakh new houses both in Srinagar and Jammu. E-busses are coming up, old busses will be replaced by new ones”, he said.
“With regard to the infrastructure, languishing projects have been identified and we have decided to take up Rs 8000 crore from the banks. 2200 projects will be completed this year”, he said.
“In terms of sports, we have decided that we will identify a place in every Panchayat and that will be given to the children for the utilization. Stadiums in Srinagar and Jammu are ready and 4500 such Panchayats have been identified”, Malik said.
“Floods in Jhelum are being taken seriously; in phase-I Rs 4000 crores have been spent and the tenders worth Rs 1600 crores have been issued. Wular lake is full to the brim, if that is not cleaned, the floods will keep coming. Rs 200 crores have been given for that; the work will start soon. Dal has improved, but lot more needs to be done. There was no need for dredging, but that is being done, sewage treatment plants are being created. Hotels have been asked to take of their sewage or their licenses will be cancelled”, he said.
He said 45000 new jobs have been created. “We will be doing an investment summit in October in Jammu and Srinagar. We will be focusing on tourism, agro processing, IT, animal husbandry. Two IT parks, one in Srinagar and one in Jammu will be coming up”, he said.
Malik said yatra was successful last year, and keeping that in mind, this year too, “We have made elaborate arrangements for the conduct of yatra. I assure that that this year, the yatra will be a success. Foolproof security has been provided”.