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Satyapal Malik suggests restoration of statehood, holding elections in J&K during interaction with Rahul Gandhi

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New Delhi:  Restoration of statehood and holding elections in Jammu and Kashmir have been suggested by former governor of the erstwhile state Satyapal Malik during an interaction with Congress leader Rahul Gandhi.

In the 28-minute-long interview conducted by Gandhi, Malik, known for his controversial remarks in the past, warned that insurgency is returning to Jammu and Kashmir and that attacks are being witnessed in areas like Rajouri and higher reaches of the Valley. The video was shared by Gandhi on his social media channel.

“My opinion about Jammu and Kashmir is that you cannot keep it calm with the help of security forces and I suggest winning the hearts of the people of that place and after that you can do anything. The people over there are amiable,” Malik said.

He said that abrogation of Article 370 had not hurt the people as much as depriving them of statehood had.

“Now I only wish that the statehood should be restored and elections are held. After all this was the assurance made by (Union Home Minister) Amit Shah on the floor of the house,” Malik said.

Gandhi added here that during his Bharat Jodo Yatra he found people in Jammu more hurt by the fact that the state had been “demoted” to a union territory.

Malik further said he had asked many a time to the Centre about restoration of statehood but the response often given was that when everything is going fine, what is the need?

When asked by Gandhi about his views on the Pulwama attack of 2019, Malik said, “I have never said that those in power at that time were responsible for the attack but yes they used the attack for their political gains.”

As many as 40 CRPF personnel were killed when a terrorist rammed his explosive laden car into their bus near Pulwama on the national highway between Jammu and Srinagar on February 14, 2019.

“I was asked not to comment on this at that time because I advocated that some heads should roll after the incident,” Malik recalled.

Asked by Gandhi as to how so much explosives could come, he said, “It came from Pakistan” but was never detected.

Gandhi also spoke about the representation from Other Backward Class, Dalit or tribal community in the media fraternity to which Malik said there has to be a quota in the media industry.

Asked about his experience in the Northeast as the governor of Meghalaya, especially in the backdrop of the ethnic conflict in Manipur, Malik said, “In Manipur, it is a total failure of the government. The CM is not doing anything and he is not being removed also.”

Gandhi claimed that during his visit to Manipur, he had found that the state had been divided into two parts.

To a question by the Congress leader whether the country stands divided by two ideologies today — RSS and Gandhiwadi, Malik said India will survive only when the country moves ahead with the ideology of liberal Hinduism.

“Gandhiji had also said this. No one understood this country better than Gandhi ji,” he said.

“Without liberal Hinduism, the country will not survive but will disintegrate. Everyone has to live peacefully with unity,” he added.

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