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Govt must respond to Malik’s charges

According to Malik, the Union Home Ministry had refused the CRPF’s request for ferrying the CRPF personnel by air to Srinagar
Last Updated : 19 April 2023, 20:50 IST
Last Updated : 19 April 2023, 20:50 IST

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Some revelations that former Jammu & Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik made in a recent interview are of great public interest and have raised questions that need answers. The revelations are about some incidents that happened during his tenure as Governor of the state from August 2018 to October 2019 when it was under President’s rule. Malik’s comments on two events that happened during the period have become controversial.

He has faulted the handling of both events by the Narendra Modi government. One is the terrorist attack on a CRPF convoy on February 14, 2019, in Pulwama, and the other is the scrapping of Article 370. Malik has alleged that there was a cover-up by the government in the case of the first, and a violation of constitutional procedure in the second. Both charges call for an explanation and answers from the government.

According to Malik, the Union Home Ministry had refused the CRPF’s request for ferrying the CRPF personnel by air to Srinagar though there were intelligence inputs about a possible terrorist attack. So, the jawans had to be transported by road and 40 of them were killed in the attack. Malik has said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and National Security Adviser Ajit Doval told him to keep quiet when he told them about it. He also says that he was not consulted on the scrapping of Article 370 and was only told to get the relevant papers signed in a few hours’ time. That shows that the constitutional procedure for the scrapping of the Article was not followed.

Malik’s claims about the Pulwama incident are especially serious. If they are true, that would show a major lapse on the part of the Union Home Ministry. The Prime Minister’s response to him, if true, would show a cynical attitude about a major tragedy and a national security issue. It should be noted that the BJP had made political use of the Pulwama incident and India’s subsequent punitive attack on Balakot in Pakistan in the 2019 election.

Neither the government nor the Prime Minister has responded to Malik’s charges. The BJP has said that Malik had once praised Narendra Modi, and a person who changed his views has no credibility. But that does not answer the substantial questions he has raised. Opposition parties have demanded an investigation into the disclosures. It also will not help to accuse them of “talking like Pakistan”. A person who had a ringside view of the events and even had a role in them has made some serious allegations, and the people have the right to know what happened. In a democracy, silence cannot be the answer to questions of public interest and import.

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Published 19 April 2023, 18:57 IST

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