SRINAGAR Governor Satya Pal Malik on Saturday said that the temperatures are far below in Kashmir from the time he took over the reins of the state and The Hurriyat Conference leaders, who once shut doors to present day cabinet minister Ram Villas Paswan, are now ready for talks.
I feel good that the temperatures (of the situation) have come down significantly since the day I arrived here. Today the Hurriyat, which once did not open door to Ram Vilas Paswan (presently a Cabinet Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution), who was standing at their door (in 2016), are now ready for talks. There is lot of change everywhere, he said at a function here.
Mallk said that the situation in Kashmir had improved ever since he took over as the governor last August, adding that recruitment of militants had almost stopped and stone-pelting incidents on Fridays had ended.
“We do not feel good when a youth is killed, we want to bring him back. There is a lot of thought being given as to what kind of scheme is needed to bring them back,” Malik said. “But when someone opens fire, the government forces will fire back. They would not present a bouquet of flowers.”
The governor hinted that it was not easy to assess the situation of Kashmir while sitting elsewhere in the country even if one had served or lived in the valley for some time.
“When I visit Delhi, there are so many people who claim to be Kashmir hand. I ask them when were you in Kashmir, they say 15 years ago,” he said. “Kashmir changes in 15 days, you do not know anything. If you want to know Kashmir, live there and see it.”
Malik said when he came to the state he decided not to listen only to intelligence people.
“I am in touch with around 200 people and from them I have come to know about the problems. The diseases have been diagnosed, the diseases are plenty but these can be cured. The narrative can be changed, the prerequisite is that the intentions are good and sincere on both sides,” he added.
The Governor also expressed his happiness that Mirwaiz Umar Farooq spoke against drug menace and urged all to come up forward and play their role to completely limit the menace. There is need for Doordarshan and other media to work to completely curb the menace, he added.
Efforts Afoot To Open Multiplex In Kashmir
Governor Satya Pal Malik said on Saturday that efforts were on to open a multiplex in the valley in order to provide an avenue for the entertainment-starved people here.
“I regret that there is nothing to do in Kashmir after 6 pm. Cinema halls are closed for decades now, coffee-house licence will take four years to get. There is no place where you can go,” Malik said at a function to launch Doordarshan’s free Dish TV in Kashmir.
“The people here are so lively that on holidays they will go to fields and parks to have their lunch there. We have not been able to give them any avenue of entertainment,” the governor said. “Now we are trying to set up a multiplex. There is friend who is determined to establish a multiplex (in Kashmir).”
Cinema halls in Kashmir were closed down in 1989 by militant groups at the time of the eruption of insurgency. Efforts were made to revive some of the halls in early, but had to be closed again due to grenade attacks by militants.
Malik said Doordarshan had fulfilled the need for credible news and information in a place like Kashmir where “rumours become the news”.
“There are so many rumours here that it takes three days to put them to rest. They become news,” he said. “So a medium that is credible, believable and with wide reach was needed. You’ve done that.”
The governor said while there were many traditional forms of entertainment in villages, there were no such things in cities. “They are dependent on TV and radio for entertainment, and DD Kashir has addressed this problem to a large extent here,” he added.
Governor observed that Doordarshan has truly lived up to the responsibility bestowed upon it and the Kendra at Srinagar has been performing its duties despite many challenges. It is playing an important role by representing the local culture through its programmes and reaching the people with unbiased information, he added.
Governor noted that DD Kashir has become popular in the state because of its good content and adding programmes in Dogri and Ladakhi languages will strengthen the composite culture of the state.
Underscoring the importance of public outreach, Governor appreciated the officers of the State Administration for reaching out to the rural population through the Back to Village programme.
Governor discusses Kashmir situation with visiting Union Ministers