Akeel Rashid

‘Focusing on people’s interest, not self-interests’

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Since taking charge as the governor of Jammu and Kashmir state, Mr. Satya Pal Malik has been largely focusing on the “issues of Kashmir” and leaving the topic of “Kashmir issue” for the centre to deliberate upon. He has stoked controversies and, as well as of late, won applauds for his honest and upfront approaches over certain issues in Kashmir. In the last couple of weeks, Mr. Malik has remained vocal on corruption and termed it as the stumbling block to development of the state of Jammu and Kashmir. During his speech at Khree Sultan Cho Sports Stadium Kargil, Mr. Malik spoke about the corruption in a controversial context saying, “Why are you (militants) killing innocents including SPOs and PSOs. What will you gain by this? “If you have to kill why don’t you kill the corrupt who have looted the country and Kashmir for so long?” It is a general principle that no politician will ever attempt to acknowledge the assertions of his/her rivals, except that of his/her own and the same being the case with the assertions, whatsoever, made by the Governor. How a senior politician responded to the Governor’s assertions gets to define this general principle of politics. If nothing else, it was an attempt to bring the focus on the individual and distract the people from the actual crisis. The actual crisis being obviously that of corruption which, in order to be witnessed doesn’t require unearthing but just surface scratching.

When it comes to the issue of corruption, nobody can be swayed merely by the statements because every ordinary Kashmiri has witnessed first-hand the acts and consequences of corruption. The act of bearing witness makes them refrain from buying into the statements aimed at political maneuvering. They are aware of the fact that the state and its people have been terrible victims of political high-handedness and successive politicians in Jammu and Kashmir have used corruption as a tool to amass massive wealth and gain power. There is no scope for the imagination in it at all and the case who constitutes the list of corrupt politicians in the state is not a matter of perceptions but that of testimonies in the form of lavish properties owned by former ministers. Those who play down the issue of corruption in J&K are far removed from its consequences and have not felt the unpleasant sense of injustice that it sets in.

I am in no way validating the context of Governor’s speech and in fact he himself clarified his statement saying that whatever he said was in a fit of anger and frustration due to rampant corruption. My irritation is with the politicians who continue to focus on their self-interests rather than focusing on people’s interests. They make counter claims just to come clean regarding their own sordid misdoings. Unless there is an intense investigation by the competent authorities, mere counter claims will not suffice. Why should one not buy into the assertions of Governor about corruption when no steps were initiated to curb the menace of corruption before, despite the state of Jammu and Kashmir standing among the top four corrupt states in the country?

Those politicians who claim honesty to be their best policy should join the fight to weed out the corruption from the state, rather than fighting for their personal interests.

The author tweets @akeel_rashid_ and can be reached at [email protected]







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