Governor Satya Pal Malik showed the willingness to talk with Hurriyat leaders only when they stop to take advice from Pakistan. It has been a long time since there was any dialogue between the Government of India and top Hurriyat leaders. However, during the PDP/BJP rule, Home Minister Rajnath Singh had taken initiative to have talks with separatist leaders. However, all the top leaders boycotted the dialogue.
Speaking in an event at Sher-i-Kashmir International Conference Centre (SKICC), the Governor said that his job was to create a peaceful atmosphere in the Valley and facilitate talks between the Government of India and all stakeholders. Malik said that after his appointment as J&K Governor, he had been able to meet only a few politicians till date. “I haven’t held talks with all stakeholders and so far I have only met Omar Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti and Muhammad Yusuf Tarigami,” he said.
The Governor said, “As far as Hurriyat is concerned, they don’t even go to the toilet without asking Pakistan, and if they don’t keep Pakistan aside, no talks will be held with them.” He also said that in the past few months, the violence in the Valley had seen a decline with less recruitment of militants. “It is not because of me but this was possible due to the willingness of the people to see peace,” Malik said. Meanwhile, last week, ten civilians, 11 militants and four soldiers were killed in different gunfights that occurred at different parts across the valley.
The governor also accepted that the valley witnessed low voter turnout in municipal polls due to the threat of militants. Earlier, militants had warned that all those who were going to contest or either polling their vote would face dire consequences. Without naming the National Conference (NC) and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), the Governor appealed to all political parties that they should participate in the upcoming panchayat polls to utilise funds for the welfare of people at the grassroots level.
Earlier, addressing a gathering, Malik said that the Kashmir problem started in Delhi many years ago and that the Kashmiris could not be blamed for the ongoing unrest in the Valley. However, he added that the incumbent government at New Delhi wanted the welfare of the people in Kashmir and were taking every step to bring peace and prosperity in the State.