Governor Satya Pal Malik Saturday said that it was encouraging to see Hurriyat Conference leaders, who he said had “once shut their doors on dialogue,” ready for talks now. Speaking after launching free set-top boxes of public broadcaster Doordarshan at SKICC here, Malik praised the separatist leadership for their proactive role in addressing social issues.
"Hurriyat leaders who once shut doors on Ram Vilas Paswan when approached for dialogue are now ready for talks. This is an encouraging sign," the Governor said. Governor Malik also hailed Hurriyat Conference (M) chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq for speaking on drug menace.
“Mirwaiz speaking about drug abuse is a welcome step. Look at how Jammu and Punjab have suffered because of drug menace. Hurriyat working towards a better society is also a positive move,” said Malik.
It was during his recent Friday sermon at the grand mosque Jamia Masjid here that Mirwaiz expressed concern over the growing drug menace in the Valley.
The governor also appreciated recent Hurriyat statement that welcomed Amarnath yatris, adding that “Kashmir’s hospitality is known for welcoming the annual yatra and being its hosts”.
Malik said that situation in the Valley was moving towards normalcy. “The stone pelting incidents that used to take place after Friday prayers every week have drastically reduced. Recruitment in militancy ranks has also gone down. The narrative in Kashmir can be changed and problems addressed but army will answer a bullet with a bullet and not bouquets,” Malik said.
“A local corporate house is coming up with a multiplex cinema here which will be a reality soon. People have no sources of entertainment in Kashmir, so we need to create some,” Malik said. The governor said problems in Kashmir were “deep-rooted” and addressing them was not an easy task.
“There seems to be some curse for this place that it must go through tough times. After being appointed as Jammu and Kashmir governor, I get to meet many retired generals and diplomats in Delhi who claim to be Kashmir experts. I tell them that knowing Kashmir from the ground zero is the only way to be a Kashmir expert,” Malik said. “I decided not to follow path of intelligence agencies, so after coming to Kashmir I interacted with the youth to understand the real problems here,” the governor said.
Commenting on the trend of fake news, Malik said often rumours become news in Kashmir which for administration takes “lot of effort to dispel”. “The public broadcaster must reflect the truth and cater to the younger generation. Youth of the Valley is an asset and there are more than 22,000 of them studying outside for whom we have appointed liaison officers,” Malik said.
On the occasion, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said the governor-led administration in the state successfully conducting urban local body polls was appreciable. “The way polls were held and Rs 4500 crore disbursed to panchayats was commendable,” Javadekar said. “I was the human resource development minister then when some anti-social elements who are against education were burning down educational institutions in the Valley. But people resisted such vested interests,” Javadekar said. The union minister said despite all odds, Kashmiri students were performing well in competitive examinations. “At present more than 5000 Kashmiri students receive Prime Minister’s scholarship for which last year 35,000 students had applied. These students receive all sorts of benefits,” Javadekar said.
Minister of State in Prime Minister’s Office, Dr Jitendra Singh, highlighted the role of public broadcaster Doordarshan in the Valley saying it can “educate and inform” people especially those living on borders. “Infotainment is a soft power to counter war power of enemy country so it is important to reach out to people,” Singh said.
Also present at the event were state Chief Secretary B V R Subrahmanyam, Advisors to Governor K Vijay Kumar and K Skandan and GoC 15 Corps KJS Dhillon.
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