Exposing Corruption in Kashmir and Allegations against Adani: Insights from Former J&K Governor Satya Pal Malik’s Interview with Karan Thapar

Exposing Corruption in Kashmir and Allegations against Adani: Insights from Former J&K Governor Satya Pal Malik's Interview with Karan Thapar

The Pulwama tragedy, Malik says was used by the “Politicians” for electoral gains during elections.

In a highly explosive interview to Karan Thapar for The Wire, the last Jammu & Kashmir governor Satyapal Malik painted a fatal image of the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, his close aides, and the BJP government. Citing instances of the “incompetence” and failure of the Indian system, Malik delved into the details of the Pulwama tragedy and the state of corruption in the Modi regime.

Satya Pal Malik served as the Jammu and Kashmir governor at the time of the abrogation of Article 370, before the erstwhile militarized state was divided and reduced to the status of a Union territory. He had dissolved the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly and was the serving governor during the Pulwama terrorist attack of February 2019.

Pulwama Attack: Our Mistake
“I told the Prime Minister it was our mistake, but the PM asked me to keep quiet about it.” In his interview with Karan Thapar, Malik agreed that Pakistan was made a scapegoat by the Indian government. “The CRPF had sought permission from the Home Ministry for five aircraft to ferry the army convoy. However, the Home Ministry refused to provide the same,” he said. He also highlighted multiple security lapses on the route of the convoy which had eight to ten link roads but was unmanned and not sanitized during the convoy’s passage.

Furthermore, he admitted that it was the system’s failure including himself that a car carrying almost 300 Kgs of RDX explosives roamed freely on Kashmir’s roads and villages for almost two weeks.

The Pulwama tragedy, Malik says was used by the “politicians” for electoral gains during elections. He also said he told Prime Minister Narendra Modi that Pulwama was a government and systemic mistake, but “he asked me to not say anything about it.”

Kashmir And An Ill-Informed PM
Malik said that he has a very different opinion of Modi than the rest of the world. Based on his interactions with the PM, Malik describes him as an “ill-informed person.” The Prime Minister has very less knowledge of Kashmir and its real problems, he says adding that he once gave a 20-page note to him about Kashmir but the PM took no cognizance of it, Amit Shah did and continues to though. He also added that the government showed no interest in his multiple impressions offering solutions to resolve issues in Kashmir.

Reinstating that half of Kashmir’s problems are created by Delhi, he says that he was not consulted with or informed about the abrogation of Article 370 in Kashmir. “I assured Mehbooba (Mufti) when she came to see me that the abrogation is not a simple thing to say, it would first come to the parliament. I received a call on the night of August 4 from the Home Minister that I will receive a letter which the committee needs to clear,” he said adding that Malik took no offence despite being the sitting governor of the state with a dissolved Assembly.

“Delhi takes all systems for granted. It is their government.”

He also criticized the government’s decision of reducing Jammu and Kashmir to a Union territory. “They did it out of an unrealistic fear that the police might revolt, and therefore by making it a UT, the police will come under Delhi’s direct control.”

Reminding BJP of its promises, Malik said that the government must restore the statehood status of Jammu and Kashmir and hold free and fair elections, which the region has been denied historically. Malik also mentioned that he has been warned by Modi to never speak on matters pertaining to Kashmir.

Corruption, Goa And BJP
“The Prime Minister is not much concerned about corruption.”

Recalling a past instance, Malik said he had personally complained to PM Modi about low-level corruption. The Prime Minister personally called him three days later saying that Malik was wrong with his information. Upon learning about Modi’s sources, Malik said, “I told him (Modi), this man himself is taking money sitting at a Chief Minister’s home. Ultimately a week later, I was transferred. Then how do I believe that the Prime Minister cares about corruption?”

While he cleared Modi’s name from being involved directly in corruption, Malik said, “Those involved in corruption were close aides of PM. I told him that your office’s name is being used for corrupt practices, which Amit Shah also later asked me about, but it made no difference to Modi.” Malik asked for one instance where Prime Minister Narendra Modi has stopped corruption.

“In Goa, even small kids will tell you how the Goan Chief Minister is,” he says referring to the corrupt state governments under BJP. Malik added that he was rushed out of Goa on a private ‘raddi’ (scrap) plane within nine months of him serving as the governor because of his growing popularity and sentiments.

BBC-Adani-Rahul: Silent Modi, Tyrant Governance
On the government’s handling of BBC, he criticized Modi for the unnecessary steps taken to ban the BBC docu-series on Modi followed by raids. “The rural masses till date believe the BBC,” he said pointing at the discrediting of the BBC by the state machinery. “Such prohibitions led to more people watching it.”

He was also critical of the Prime Minister, his bandwagon of ministers, and the BJP’s treatment of Muslims. “They are mistaken in thinking India can survive by excluding the Muslims of this country. Their trust should be won over,” he said adding that any government is wrong in its attempt to alienate any section of people.

That the Adani scandal has caused severe damage to the Prime Minister and BJP, Malik says that he would suggest the PM end all ties and associations with Adani. He observed that the matter has trickled down to villages and could cause a serious dent to the BJP in the 2024 elections, particularly if the opposition can field a single candidate against the BJP. “The BJP will be finished, credits to Adani, to an unrecognizable state.”

Commenting on the disqualification of Rahul Gandhi, Malik said that Gandhi was right in raising questions on the Adani scandal, which Prime Minister Modi failed to answer. He added that refusing Rahul Gandhi permission to speak in parliament was an unprecedented mistake. “The speaker has done a shameful thing by not allowing Gandhi to speak. Nothing as wrong as this has happened in a parliamentary democracy.”

Malik went ahead to say that on the Adani row and Rahul Gandhi’s blistering questions, Modi did not have a single word to utter in his defence.

A Puppet President
Recollecting another incident, when he met with the first Adivasi president of India, quoting internal sources Malik told Thapar that the appointment list of the president is not a matter of her office. “The president’s appointment list is approved by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).” When asked by Thapar if this is an insult to the highest nominal head of the country, Malik shrugs saying, “Nothing is impossible here.”

The Bharatiya Janata Party leader raised the question of the appointment of governors, accusing the government of appointing ‘third rate people’ as governors.

On Dissolving the J&K Assembly Within Minutes
At the beginning of the interview, Malik was blasted with questions about dissolving the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly despite Mehbooba Mufti’s claim of having secured a 56 out of 87 majority in the Assembly. He attempted to defend his stance by citing legal and technical reasons for Mufti failing to present her claims formally in writing to his office.

“What do rules say? Governments are not formed on Twitter. They had to personally deliver signed letters to me after holding their meetings, they had the entire day,” he said, adding that the former Chief Minister and Farooq Abdullah themselves had been complaining of horse-trading in the state a week prior to the dissolution.

Evading Mufti’s claims that the governor had arbitrarily dissolved the Assembly and not taken her calls, Malik maintained his stance that the fax machine in his office was not working at the time of the dissolution and that Mufti had enough resources at her disposal to communicate her majority claim formally to him. “It is not my responsibility to tell you how governments are formed. She is lying when she says she tried calling me.” Source

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