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No talks with separatists unless they stop taking orders from Pakistan: Guv

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Concedes state’s ‘carelessness’ in Kulgam blast; says problems of Kashmir not creation of Kashmiri people but that of former rulers in Delhi

Srinagar, Oct 25: Governor Satya Pal Malik Thursday conceding that there was “carelessness on our part” which led to the death of seven civilians when a live shell went off after government forces left an encounter site in Kulgam without sanitising it.

Speaking to reporters on a wide range of issues after a function at SKICC, the Governor also said “there will be no talks” with separatists “unless they stop seeking Pakistan’s nod before doing anything”.

He also talked of his role in revocation of the suspension of two AMU students and quashing of a sedition case, lodged against them for allegedly taking part in prayer meeting for a slain militant, a former AMU student, whose death, he said “pained him”.

Talking of the Kulgam incident, he said, “What happened in Kulgam is very unfortunate and should not have happened. There was carelessness on our part also as well as on theirs (youths).”

He said the government forces have been told not to leave the area without clearing it after an encounter and people must also understand it could be dangerous.

“We have told the forces (not to leave) without clearing the area. There should also be advertisements in newspapers appealing to the people not to go near the sites of encounters. People should also understand this, political parties too should come forward and stop people from going to encounter sites for a few days till sites are cleared,” he said.

Asked about holding talks with stakeholders of the Kashmir problem, including the separatists, the Governor said there would be no talks with the separatists till they stop insisting on involving Pakistan.

Malik said though he has held no talks with any stakeholder, he meets everyone. “I met Omar Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti, M Y Tarigami and all recently,” he said.

As far as Hurriyat Conference is concerned, he said the separatists do not do anything without seeking permission from Pakistan.

“So there will be no talks with them till they do not stop insisting on involving Pakistan. Talks are the prerogative of the government. My role is to make the situation conducive for the talks and I am trying to make that happen.

“You would have seen there is decrease in violence, there is decrease in (militants’) recruitment, stone-pelting incidents have come down. It is not because of me, but due to the attitude of the people,” he said.

Earlier, in his speech, Malik said the problem of Kashmir was not a creation of the people of Kashmir but that of the former rulers in Delhi.

“The problem of Kashmir has not been created by Kashmiris. What the erstwhile rulers in Delhi did, it fanned uncertainty, separatism and all problems here. But today, I can safely say as a representative of the government that Delhi is a friend of Kashmiris.

“Delhi does not want to govern you but wants you to govern the whole country. You govern your state and your children become DM, SSP, DIG, IG in every part of the country and become the best state of the country,” he said.

Referring to the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Manan Wani in an encounter with government forces, the Governor said the scholar-turned militant’s death pained him as Wani could have done much more for the country had he not chosen the path of militancy.

“Some days ago, there was an incident at AMU. A terrorist Manan Wani was killed here. He was well educated and I felt pained that he would have done so much for the country, had he not gone that way. Some (Kashmiri) students (at AMU) gathered for offering his (Wani’s) funeral prayers.

“The vice-chancellor told students to offer prayers inside a mosque and not outside as it could have attracted press and in such a city, especially in western UP, where a riot takes place in a minute. All the students understood but two of them did not, so the university officials took them away and suspended them and some inspector registered a sedition case against them,” the Governor said.

He said in reaction to the suspension and the case, the Kashmiri students warned of leaving the university if the suspension and the sedition case were not revoked.

“What message would it have sent if 1,200 students from Kashmir had left Aligarh? The separation of Kashmir and the country would have happened the same day. I did not sleep that night. I looked for (Union HRD Minister) (Prakash) Javedkar, he was in Rajasthan, and told him to tell the vice-chancellor (VC) to revoke the suspension,” he said.

Malik said he spoke to the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and the AMU Vice-Chancellor regarding the incident.

“The chief minister said since there was no complaint from the university, these obnoxious charges will be dropped,” Malik said.

He said his administration has decided to appoint liaison officers in every city having more than a dozen Kashmiri students.

“These liaison officers will look after the well-being of the Kashmiri students and sort out their problems. It will send a positive message and ultimately (the situation in) Kashmir will improve,” he said.

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