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J&K Governor regrets remark asking gunmen to target corrupt politicians

Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik.   | Photo Credit: PTI

Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik has regretted his remark asking “militants to go after corrupt politicians and bureaucrats,” a statement that drew sharp reactions from the regional parties on Monday.

“As Governor, I should not have made such a comment. But my personal feeling is what I said. Many political leaders and big bureaucrats are steeped in corruption here,” Mr Malik said while clarifying his earlier statement. “The statement was made in a fit of anger and frustration due to rampant corruption in J&K.”

Mr. Malik irked regional parties with the remark he made in Kargil on Sunday. “These boys [militants] who have picked up guns are killing their own people; they are killing PSOs [personal security officers] and SPOs [special police officers]. Why are you killing them? Kill those who have looted the wealth of Kashmir. Have you killed any of them?” the Governor had said.

In a sharp reaction, National Conference (NC) vice-president and former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said, “Save this tweet — after today any mainstream politician or serving/retired bureaucrat killed in J&K has been murdered on the express orders of the Governor of J&K Satyapal Malik,” tweeted Mr. Abdullah.

“This man, ostensibly a responsible man occupying a constitutional position...Perhaps the man should find out about his own reputation in Delhi these days before sanctioning unlawful killings and kangaroo courts,” Mr. Abdullah had said.

In his retort, Mr. Malik said, “He [Mr. Abdullah] is a political juvenile tweeting on everything. I ask him to evaluate my reputation here and his own too.”

The Governor said he had risen from a one-and-a-half room. “I belong to no dynasty. I don't cash in on my father or grandfather’s name. Let me make it clear, I will expose all corrupt names in J&K.”

Systemic problems

Meanwhile, in a direct message to the Centre, Mr. Abdullah said there were a lot of systemic problems in J&K. “Participatory democracy and empowered institutions will contribute to solutions being found.... the key word here being participatory.”

He also questioned the Centre’s move on empowerment of Panchayats and Urban Local Bodies. “Why do we ignore the reality that many seats in the Valley are vacant, the ones that were filled either won unopposed or with a negligible participation of voters?” he added.

‘Nail corrupt elements’

J&K Peoples Movement chief Shah Faesal welcomed “any steps to nail corrupt elements.”

“Eliminating corruption from J&K will need the Government to rise above party affiliations and act against high and mighty, whichever party they belong to, rather than making it look like an operation against the opposition,” said Mr. Faesal.

Awami Ittehad Party head Engineer Rashid said the Governor’s appeal to militants should be seen in the right perspective. “Militants are not aliens. One way or the other, governance should be their concern as well,” he said.

Peoples Conference vice-president Abdul Gani Vakil said the reason for the current turmoil “was the corrupt politics of the NC and the PDP.” However, he was quick to add: “Mr. Malik’s drive to eradicate corruption is welcome, but his utterances are absolutely irresponsible and unbecoming of any head of the State.”

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Printable version | Nov 29, 2020 7:10:29 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/jammu-and-kashmir-governor-regrets-remark-asking-gunmen-to-target-the-corrupt/article28638743.ece

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