Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik on Wednesday hit out at mainstream politicians for “misleading” people in Kashmir, and asked militants to give up arms and hold a dialogue with the Centre within the ambit of the Constitution.
“If not today, after 10 years you will repent that you had chosen the wrong path. Take everything from us. We will give our life but through dialogue. For that (Prime Minister) Narendra Modi is ready. Come to the dialogue table and take it forward,” he told a press conference where the achievements made by his administration in the past one year were highlighted.
The Governor said militancy in Kashmir was “not the outcome of unemployment only but it was more than that”. He said people have been misled and “shown dreams which can’t be fulfilled”.
“They (the youth) were shown dreams of Aazadi and autonomy. When it didn’t work they were shown the dream of paradise,” said the Governor.
“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.
Criticizing mainstream politicians, the Governor said the Kashmir problem would be solved by talking to youth and not politicians.
“I am often asked to start a dialogue but dialogue with whom. These politicians have been misleading people for the past 50 years. The anger, dissatisfaction and radicalisation are in younger generation. We are in touch with them and trying to talk to them,” said Malik who was flanked by his advisors and the Chief Secretary during the presser.
He said the youth were being “indoctrinated” and “death was glorified”.
“These paths will lead to destruction. I want to appeal to youth to drop your guns and come to Raj Bhavan to have lunch with me and make me understand what good would you do on the path you have chosen,” he said, adding separatist have suffered but for “wrong reasons”.
The Governor said the LTTE was a powerful organization and had support of 10 countries.
“You are a handful of children. Those who provoke you I appeal them to ask you to return,” he said.
He said New Delhi has also acted in “wrong way at time on Kashmir” in the past, but he said the leaders in Kashmir have done “more wrongs”.
“They have never told people the truth. I want to tell them (the youth) that nothing will come out of this violence,” said the Governor.
“You have your own constitution and you have a separate flag. Whatever more you want you will get it through the democratic process and within ambit of Indian Constitution,” he said.
Malik, however, said that India cannot be bowed down through violence.
“Every insurgency passes through a phase of fatigue. That time has come in Kashmir also. Everybody knows that nothing is going to come out of this,” the Governor said.
To a question about Pakistan’s role in Kashmir situation, Malik said the neighboring country was itself in trouble. “There is a realisation in Pakistan there that they can’t fool youth of Kashmir for too long. There is also demoralisation and fatigue factor in Pakistan but still they do not give up. The camps are running there,” he said.
However, Malik, said the security forces were alert and “infiltrators are either killed on LoC or dealt within 10 kilometres of the border”.
The Governor said recruitment into militancy has gone down in Kashmir. “The main reason for that is we have adopted a sympathetic attitude towards our youth,” he said.
To another question about challenge to Articles 370 and 35A of, Malik said promises have been made in the manifestos by some political parties to this effect.
“There is a lot of talk about it but there is nothing to worry about on this front,” he said.
The Governor also dismissed reports about delimitation of assembly constituencies in Jammu and Kashmir. “There are rumours about delimitation. But it is not something that can be done overnight. It is a constitutional matter. Even Home Ministry has not confirmed that they are doing something like this. There are basically rumours and newspaper reports only,” he said.
The Governor said the timing of Assembly polls will be decided by the Election Commission (EC) in consultation with the Union Home Ministry.
“It is between Home Ministry and 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,” he said.
The Governor also took a dig at media in New Delhi saying they were “so negative” about Kashmir. “They demonise this place so much that it hurts,” he said.
To a question on presence of Islamic State in Kashmir, the Governor said these are “ways of destruction”.
The Chief Secretary BVR Subrahmanyam said the EC has said that an announcement about Assembly elections will be made after the Amarnath Yatra.
In response to a separate question he said a large population of youth was “somehow unhappy”.
“It comes out in various forms. It could be lack of job and education opportunities. A bulk of these youth is in the age group of 15 to 25 years. Before end of the month we will be coming out with massive outreach program for these youth. We need to touch their hearts and tell them life is about living and not about dying,” said the Chief Secretary.