Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik's statement saying that militants should target those 'who looted Kashmir' instead of police personnel is wrong on so many levels.
Most people would be appalled at the senseless killing of personal security officers (PSOs) of various Kashmir politicians, among other innocents. They would be equally horrified at the brazen loot of public money; as compared to several other parts of the country, even a smaller fraction of the money sent by the central government finds its way on to projects on the ground. And if you were in charge of trying to fix things in a state, as the BJP is trying, this is very frustrating; militancy does get some kind of justification, even if incorrectly, in the eyes of the populace if the government is not delivering even basic services. There is, however, absolutely no justification for someone holding the highest constitutional office in the state, like Governor Satya Pal Malik, to tell militants that they should kill those who have looted Kashmir instead of innocents like PSOs.
Is Governor Malik suggesting that, were militants to heed his plea and start killing Kashmir politicians, he would find it acceptable and, perhaps, even grant a pardon? And are the country’s citizens, and its courts, to view this as just harmless venting of frustration or as an incitement to violence? Also, should the militants kill a few politicians in the state, would this make their demands any less unacceptable? Governor Malik has opened the doors, even if inadvertently, to vigilantism of the worst sort. Today, it is some of Kashmir’s politicians — presumably those affiliated to the BJP are not part of this list — that Governor Malik is suggesting it is all right to bump off, at least in relation to killing innocent civilians or those connected to the Indian state, such as PSOs. But this can just as easily be widened to include other politicians across the country; several of them have, like some of their Kashmiri counterparts, looted the country’s exchequer. And why stop at politicians? The same logic can be extended to several bureaucrats who can just as easily be accused of stealing money as they can of not delivering satisfactory services to the very public that is paying their salaries; are they to be bumped off without it being a crime?
Governor Malik has to be asked to reconsider his statement; there is no place in public office for such intemperate statements and airing of private grievances. And he must publicly retract his statement and express regret for them.