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Have taken calculated risk on civic polls: Guv

Srinagar, Sep 24: Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik has said that his administration took a calculated risk to hold the local body elections in the state.

Malik, in an interview to The Hindu, Malik said that if they cannot hold panchayat elections, then how will parliamentary elections be possible?


“We took a calculated risk to hold the elections. I met the leaders of all political parties — they say something in person and their public posturing is different,” he said.

Malik believes that Kashmir problem is not that of the political parties.

“Hurriyat is also not a problem as they have lost credibility among the people; because of Pakistan they don’t want to participate in dialogue. The youth in the 13-20 age group are being targeted by the militants. Moulvis (religious preachers), who operate on foreign money, are the ones who mislead them,” he said.

He said to reach out to young generation, he had engaged some NGOs to analyse the reasons for the frustration and alienation among the youth.

“I got the feedback that the reason for the frustration in 46% of youth who are in the 13-20 age group is that they do not have anything to do after 6 pm. There are no cinema halls, no coffee shops… I met IPL chairman Rajeev Shukla and suggested that J&K should also have a separate team… you cannot win them over by arguments, you cannot argue with them on Islam, it increases the fanaticism…Nowhere in the world now can a new country be born, look at LTTE, even they couldn’t seize power in Sri Lanka… [The youth should] get into IAS, get into IPS, rule India,” Malik believes.

Malik, as per the report, said that candidates of all parties will participate in elections without the party symbol.

“Farooq Abdullah said twice that these elections are not for Delhi or the Governor. Then he changed his stance. All this is posturing for MLA elections. It is not that they are scared — they move around in bulletproof vehicles,” he was quoted as having said by The Hindu.

Governor, as per the report, said that he is “hopeful that people will come out and vote in these local body polls”.

“Of course people will come out and vote. Farooq Abdullah was elected on 7% vote percentage; we would get much higher votes… The problem of J&K arose from rigging of polls. We will never do this,” Malik said.

Asked about the security of contesting candidates, Malik said that they are giving Rs 10 lakh insurance cover to every candidate in panchayats.

“We will provide them personal security and if they don’t want to live at their house we will give them a safe place to stay during elections,” he said.

Malik said that till an elected government is formed in the state, the hearing of Article 35A should be delayed. “We are not elected representatives. We don’t disrespect the mandate of the State government. When an elected government is in place, it can take a stand in court and till then no hearing should take place,” he said.

When asked why former DGP SP Vaid said the condition is not conducive to hold elections, Governor Malik said: “It’s a rumour. He was part of the decision-making and joint assessment.”

Malik believes that rigging by Congress in two elections lead to political alienation among youth. “Under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, I can assure that there will be no such thing… No government formation will take place through underhand means. There will be elections; whoever wins will be sworn to power. The real trouble began in Kashmir when they dislodged elected governments… that will not be repeated,” he said,

What asked about the possible government formation in J&K, governor said, “I want to promise that we will not form a government by underhand means? Proper elections will be held”

Governer Malik said that he has told DGP on the very first day that no innocent should be harassed and called to the police station, until and unless there is something substantial against him. “You [police] will not extort money from them, and if I get a complaint, then action will be taken against the SHO as well as the DSP. They [youth] are threatened that they will be framed in stone-throwing incidents, this kind of harassment is there. This should stop. They should be given cricket balls instead of stones,” he said.

Asked about the killing of policemen and threats to SPOs, governor said that they are developing a separate colony for policemen in safe areas, where the families can stay.

”We have increased the compensation amount from Rs 40 lakh to Rs 70 lakh. [I am] trying to increase it to Rs 1 crore. The children of policemen will get free education. The policemen who go home are killed… [Hence] we are making guest houses in police lines so that families can come and visit them there. So they [policemen] don’t have to go to the mohalla (locality); if they go, they will go with security. Hardship allowance will also be increased,” Malik said.

He said that they are increasing the salary of SPOs from Rs 6,000 to Rs 16,000. “The compensation to SPOs who are killed on duty has been doubled. Of the total SPOs, around 5% were inducted in the regular police force — this has been doubled. People are queuing up to join as SPOs,” he said.

Governer Malik said that detaining Riyaz Naikoo’s father was “unfortunate”. “Riyaz Naikoo’s father was detained, it was unfortunate. He was released subsequently. But terrorists should know that if they target the families of policemen, then their family members are also here, so this dignity should be maintained. The fight is between you and me, not the relatives,” he said.