"Longer They Stay Inside, More Votes They'll Win": J&K Governor On Arrested Leaders

Former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi also came under fire at the press meet for allegedly giving Pakistan an opportunity to target India on the Kashmir issue.

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Satya Pal Malik dismissed allegations of human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir.


Srinagar: 

As many as 50,000 vacancies across various government departments will be filled on priority in the coming months, Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik said on Wednesday, listing out the various ways in which the region will benefit from the scrapping of its special status.

"With this move, the people of Jammu and Kashmir can finally look forward to brighter days. Gone will be the days of widespread unemployment and zero investment. I advise the people of Kashmir to participate actively in this recruitment drive, which will be the largest ever in the region," Mr Malik told reporters at a press meet held at Raj Bhavan.

However, the prospects of the politicians arrested as a "precautionary measure" before the centre's decision to scrap Jammu and Kashmir's special status and bifurcate it into two union territories did not appear as cheerful. National Conference leader Omar Abdullah and Peoples Democratic Party chief Mehbooba Mufti have been in police custody for nearly a month now, and enquiries about them at the press meet were shrugged off by the Governor.

"I have gone to jail 30 times, and I know this much: The longer they stay in there, the more votes they will win when they finally come out. I hope they have the good sense to take advantage of this," he remarked.

While Mehbooba Mufti's family has alleged that they were not allowed to meet her even once since her arrest, the state administration denies receiving any such request. "I don't believe they will be released anytime soon," said an official with the Jammu and Kashmir administration.

According to Mr Malik, apple growers in the Valley will also benefit from the centre's developmental initiatives in the days to come. "There are seven lakh farmers growing apples in the region, and whatever is their minimum selling price, we will raise it by ten rupees. We will upgrade colleges as well for the benefit of students," he said.

The Governor claimed that the clampdown on Kashmir was aimed at preventing "loss of life" in the days following the centre's decision. He also defended the centre's act of snapping communications in the Valley over the last few weeks. "Telephones and Internet connections are of very little use to us. They were being used more by Pakistani forces and terrorists, and that was why we put restrictions on them," Mr Malik said, citing the reopening of schools and restoration of certain phone lines as definite signs that Kashmir was well on the road to normalcy.

Former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi also came under fire at the press meet for allegedly giving Pakistan Minister Shireen Mazari an opportunity to target India on the Kashmir issue. "Rahul Gandhi is behaving like a political juvenile. He has not cleared his stand on Kashmir, and he should not have said what he did," said Mr Malik.

Shireen Mazari had allegedly cited certain comments made by Rahul Gandhi against the centre's handling of the Kashmir issue in a letter to the United Nations.



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