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Not me but corrupt people are defaming Kashmiris: Guv

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Says, J&K bank a ‘wonderful institution’

Jammu, Oct 31: Jammu, Oct 31: Hitting back at those who blame him for “defaming Kashmiris” by talking about corruption, Governor Satya Pal Malik Wednesday said those engaged in corruption are the ones defaming the people of the state.

“If any political leader says I am defaming Kashmiris by talking about corruption in Kashmir, it is wrong,” Malik told reporters at Raj Bhawan here.

“Rather, those engaged in corruption in the state are defaming Kashmiris,” he asserted.

Malik made the remarks in response to a query over some state political leaders’ statements that the Governor was defaming Kashmiris by talking on news channels about “huge corruption” in the state.

The Governor has been facing insinuations that his anti-graft remarks while taking stringent measures against the malady are defaming Kashmiris.

Malik recently cancelled over 550 political appointments in J&K Bank and struck down a government deal with the Anil Ambani-led Reliance General Insurance for mandatory health insurance of government employees and pensioners.

The Governor said in his short tenure of over two months, he has not only understood the menace of corruption plaguing Kashmir, but other problems as well.

He said he learnt about the problem of corruption by talking to various stakeholders, including children and youths, and “not through the officers”.

“I will try to resolve the problem with honesty and dedication,” he said.

Talking of the huge financial disparity among the people of the state, the Governor said the situation pains him.

“If corruption stops in Kashmir, the poor will be benefitted,” he said.

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Sunday questioned the Governor’s recent observation on corruption in the state, saying his frequent remarks on it end up defaming Kashmiris and the state’s institutions and make “every Kashmiri appear a thief”.

Senior PDP leader and former minister Naeem Akhtar had said it was “regrettable” that the Governor often made “sweeping statements” in media about corruption in the state and whatever he learns about it during “discharge of his official duties”.

“It is very unfortunate that he is even grudging the people of Kashmir having a house. Going by his statements, it appears anybody who has a house in Kashmir – big or small – has to be dishonest,” Akhtar had said.

“The system demands that rather than making sweeping statements about the entire populace of Kashmir, he should have a list of suspects against whom action is initiated and inquiry held,” he said.

“It would be advisable for the governor to first ask his accountability apparatus to take action and establish guilt before going to the media,” he said.

Praising J&K Bank by terming it a wonderful institution, Governor Satya Pal Malik on Wednesday said that whatever he was told by J&K Bank officials about the “recruitment mess” there was not “gospel truth.”

“Some youth and bank officials came to meet me at Raj Bhawan and told me about the irregularities in the recruitment process for the appointments made by the bank. But, whatever they told me was not the Gospel truth. Things will come to the fore only after an enquiry,” he said in his first media interaction in Jammu.

He said that he and the Secretary of the bank have given directions to the subordinate staff for ensuring smooth functioning of the bank.

“JK Bank is doing a great business. It is a wonderful institution and we will ensure it functions properly,” he said.

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