Srinagar: J&K Governor Satya Pal Malik on Wednesday asked militants to give up arms and invited them to talks, saying dialogue was the only way through which they could get what they want within the ambit of the Constitution.
He said India couldn’t be made to bow through violence while announcing a massive outreach programme for youth in the Valley from next month.
“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,” Satya Pal Malik said at a marathon press briefing on the achievements of his administration.
“Whatever you want can be achieved through talks and dialogue. You have your own constitution, you have a separate flag. Whatever more you want, you will get it through the democratic process and within the ambit of the Indian Constitution,” Malik said.
The governor said the militants may not realise it now, but 10 years down the line they will repent that they chose the wrong path.
The Governor said the problem of militancy exists in Kashmir not only due to unemployment among youth, but also because politicians have been misleading the people for the past several decades.
“There is unemployment across the country but unemployed people [elsewhere] 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 people the truth. People have been misled and shown false dreams, which will never be fulfilled,” he said.
According to him, people have been shown the dream of ‘azadi’ (independence) and sometimes that of autonomy. “When these things did not work, they were shown the dreams of paradise through radicalisation. 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,” he said.
Speaking about the presence of the Islamic State in Kashmir, the governor said, “These are ways to destruction of Kashmir.”
Malik exhorted Kashmiri youth to give up arms, saying, “I want to tell the youth of Kashmir, drop your guns and come to Raj Bhawan to have lunch with me. Then explain to me what good Kashmir will get from the path you have chosen.”
Malik called on political leaders to help bring back youth to mainstream society. “They have to muster the courage and tell them. I request the mainstream leaders, preachers and intelligentsia to bring back these youth (to the mainstream) and whatever is needed for their rehabilitation, we will do it,” he said.
“In every insurgency, there comes a time when fatigue sets in. That time has come in Kashmir,” he added.
Asked about Pakistan’s role in the situation in Kashmir, Malik said the neighbouring country was in trouble and there was a realisation there that they cannot “fool the youth of Kashmir for too long”.
“Musharraf had told the (Kashmiri) leaders here that he cannot do it as India is a superpower. Whatever you want to get, take it within this system. There is demoralisation and fatigue factor in Pakistan, but still they do not give up; camps are running there as earlier,” he said.
According to him, infiltration had declined and if militants enter, they are either killed at LoC or within 10 kilometers of the LoC. He also said that the number of Kashmiri youths signing up as militants had come down.
“A big reason for that is that we have adopted a sympathetic attitude towards our youth. I believe that the Kashmir problem will be solved through these youth only,” he said. ““Talks with leaders cannot do it as they have been lying to the people for past 50 years.”
The governor put the onus on the Election Commission (EC), saying it is the commission which has to decide the date. “It is between the Union Home Ministry and the Election Commission. I cannot comment on this. If the security we require for holding elections is provided to us, we are ready to hold the elections. We have held peaceful elections (panchayat and parliamentary polls) but for assembly elections, the security requirements are different,” he said.
On Articles 35A, 370
The Governor said there was “nothing to worry about” on this front.
He dismissed the reports about delimitation of assembly constituencies in Jammu and Kashmir as “rumours”.
“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 this. These are basically just rumours and newspaper reports only,” Malik said.
No war against mainstream
The governor denied that the government of India had started an onslaught against mainstream political parties. “We want to strengthen the mainstream and time and again we are telling them don’t talk like separatists. We have no grudge against mainstream political parties,” he said.
Action against corruption
The governor, without disclosing any identities, said that some former ministers were involved in corruption and would face action.
“If we are able to convince our youth that there will be no backdoor appointments and all politicians, bureaucrats and powerful persons will be kept out of the recruitment process, then half of terrorism will end,” he said.
Asked about corruption in government forces, he said police officers who would extort money from people for releasing their wards have been removed from south Kashmir.
Malik claimed to have annulled two corrupt deals worth Rs 300 crore despite involvement of powerful people in them.
J&K Chief Secretary BVR Subrahmanyam said the government won’t spare anybody involved in corruption. He said the Anti-Corruption Bureau has been empowered and is now as powerful as the CBI.
He said six fact-finding panels set up to look into shady deals in sports, technical education, sports council, macadamisation, and dredging will be submitting their reports this month.
Already, a report on JKPCC has been received and referred to Crime Branch where a case has been filed, he said.
“When roots of corruption are so deep, it takes a lot of time to get the information,” he said.