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Former Governor Satya Pal Malik Stirs up Memories of ‘Deep Betrayal’ in Kashmir

Anees Zargar |
In a recent interview, the former J&K Governor made some startling revelations, but political parties accuse him of “complicity” during his tenure in the erstwhile state.
Satypal Malik

Image Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

Srinagar: In a recent interview with The Wire, Satya Pal Malik, former governor of Jammu and Kashmir, made a series of astonishing revelations on various issues during his tenure, such as Pulwama, corruption, downgrading of the state to a Union territory (UT) among others. However, his remarks have seemingly failed to evoke much interest among the Kashmir-based political parties.

In one of the claims made in the interview, Malik said that late Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Geelani had expressed interest in negotiations with him and that the senior separatist had communicated this to Muzaffar Hussain Baig, a senior leader, who was then associated with the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). 

Baig, one of PDP’s founding members, however, has slammed Malik, refuting that he ever met Geelani since his participation in the Assembly elections in the erstwhile state. 

“I went to meet him once and we discussed something briefly, including the overall situation of the region, but there was no mention of Geelani in the meeting,” Baig told a local news agency.

“Geelani considered us untouchable and when we took part in the elections, he urged people to go for a social boycott against us,” Baig was quoted as saying.

Reacting to the former Governor’s comments, former lawmaker from National Conference (NC) Syed Mohammad Akhoon said he doesn’t know why Malik had turned rebellious. “When he was the Governor, he would praise BJP and its leadership and today he has gone against them. Our region has not recovered despite BJP leadership’s claims of normalcy,” Akhoon told reporters.

However, according to a NC spokesperson, who avoided speaking further on Malik’s disclosures, Akhoon had made the comments in his “personal capacity”. The party’s top leadership in the past has accused Malik of being a serial “liar”.

The former J&K Governor has been in the eye of many political storms, including the dissolution of the region’s Assembly in 2018 even as former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti staked claim for government formation. Malik was J&K’s last governor before it was divided into two UTs and simultaneously stripped of Articles 370 and 35 A despite opposition from the regional political parties. 

Another senior NC leader, Ruhullah Mehdi, termed the circumstances around the abrogation of Articles 370 and 35 A, revealed by Malik, as “a daylight thuggery.”

“This is how the fate of the people of J&K was decided on that day. This is how they lynched and murdered democracy. Clause 3rd of Article 370 says that the abrogation cannot happen without the concurrence of the State’s (J&K) Constituent Assembly, meaning the will of the people,” Mehdi tweeted.

“And this is how the concurrence was taken from the people of J&K. A day light thuggery. An appointed individual of GoI decides for 14 million people and brazenly says that it was their (BJP’s) government,” he added.

Another regional party leader, who wished not to be named, told NewsClick that he found Malik statements filled with self- aggrandisement. “Malik is complicit in everything that happened during his time as Governor and it was a time of historical wrongs and blunders. He is himself a swindler of rights of Kashmiris, like the entire berth of which he was an essential part once,” he said.

Meanwhile, PDP president Mehbooba Mufti, on Sunday, accused the government in Uttar Pradesh for using the killings of Atiq Ahmed and his brother as a "diversionary tactic" to steer attention away from the revelations made by Malik about the Pulwama attack.

“Atiq was not an angel but the way he was killed in police custody indicates the Jungle Raj in UP. And it seems that the killing of Atiq and his brother are part of a larger conspiracy and seems to be used to remove focus from the revelations made by Malik,” Mufti told reporters.

In a statement, the polit bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has demanded that the Modi government must come clean and answer all the serious allegations raised by the former governor of the state of Jammu and Kashmir, Satya Pal Malik.

"The allegations regarding the manner in which Article 370 and 35 A of the Constitution were abrogated and the J&K state dissolved into two Union Territories are equally serious," CPI(M) leader M Y Tarigami said. 

Tarigami added that the Modi government’s silence on these issues has very "grave implications for our national security and the unity and integrity of India."

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