Guv stirs another controversy

Kashmir Times. Dated: 7/23/2019 1:21:56 AM

An open exhortation to kill corrupt people by a constitutional head is illegal, unconstitutional

Governor Satyapal Malik's latest controversial remarks asking militants to stop killing innocents and security personnel and instead target the corrupt persons amounts to sanctioning of violence. Such remarks coming from a man holding a constitutional position adds to the seriousness of its pernicious import. According to the Indian constitution, an individual is not supposed to deliberately kill another person without inviting prosecution by the state. It is more than worrying of a functionary of the state instead of encouraging citizens to uphold the law is found exhorting individuals to resort to taking law into their hands and engaging in homicides. Such open provocation to violence and violation of laws itself amounts to cognizable offence punishable under the Indian constitution. In the last three decades of insurgency and militarisation, the state's agencies are already facing many allegations of wrong-doing, human rights abuse and state sanctioned violence. The State has also been critiqued for its policy of arming civilians to fight counter insurgency through creation of village defence committees and pursuing the policy of arming and patronizing renegade militants. The Governor has sought to legitimize the cult of violence by beseeching militants to re-direct their guns from security personnel to the people who are corrupt instead of assuring to nail them by following in all fairness a due process of law. There are enough existing Indian laws for prosecuting people who engage in corruption. By riding rough shod over the legal processes as per Indian law and calling for killings of people accused of corruption, effectively the Governor is batting for setting up of Kangaroo courts where mere accusations will be considered as valid sanction for murders. As per the Indian legal system, a person is deemed innocent till proven guilty.
That Malik juxtaposed his controversial and provocative remarks on Sunday followed his tirade against the political families and politicians of Kashmir shows where he was training his gun and also betrays the political agenda behind such remarks. Both the weight of the remarks and their possible political motive do not are incompatible with the position he holds. The comment came soon after his remark that "big families of Kashmir of accruing properties across the world by looting public money". This is not the first time that he has exhibited his blanket contempt for the Kashmiri politicians. During the last one year of his tenure, he has used several occasions to accuse political leaders, as well as bureaucrats, of Kashmir of corruption and having no mass support because of the poor turnout in elections. Politicians of all hues in the last few months are facing either corruption charges under his administration or income tax raids. While different political parties in Kashmir have alleged that such moves are vendetta and apprehensions have been aroused about several attempts to marginalize all Valley based politicians. On Monday, after a backlash over his comments, the Governor sought to engage in some damage control by stating that he had spoken "in a fit of anger and frustration" due to rampant corruption. Such explanations do not dilute or diminish the seriousness of his remarks. If corrupt practices and anger can be used to legitimize open invocation of violence and homicides, then by that logic the actions of youth, who pick up the gun angered and frustrated by the corrupt, manipulative and undemocratic political system and all its manifestations, will also gain a legitimacy. A man holding a constitutional position is expected to behave far more responsibly than the latter.



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