Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik on Thursday accused political leaders in the state of wanting to get youth in the state killed to “blackmail” the Centre and keep it “under pressure”, PTI reported. Malik made the controversial comment in his address at Kisan Mela in Jammu district’s Akhnoor.

The governor said he had removed this misconception during the municipal and panchayat polls in the state in December. “New Delhi will not come under pressure of blackmail now,” he added. “If bullets will be fired, no bouquets will be sent from here.”

Malik urged militants to return to the mainstream and said no solution can be found by killing them. “I am not for taking the lives of these children,” he said. “If they come back, we are ready to do something for them. We are trying to find out some way.”

Last week, the governor had said that the loss of a single life in the state, even that of a militant, was painful for him.

On Thursday, Malik claimed that corruption is the biggest problem that the state faces, and accused the Peoples Democratic Party and the National Conference of being corrupt, ANI reported. Malik even indirectly accused former chief ministers Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah of “double standards”.

The governor claimed he had broken protocol and reached out to both the leaders to participate in the municipal and panchayat elections with the objective of empowering people. “But they opposed it,” he added. “They want their own empowerment not that of the people.”

PDP and National Conference criticise governor

National Conference leader Omar Abdullah criticised the governor and urged him to “focus on his work and stop playing politics”.

“Please stop with the insults and snide remarks Mr Governor,” Abdullah tweeted. “They do not behove a person in your position. It is only my respect for the office you occupy that stops me from repeating what all you told me when we met.”

The PDP said Malik’s decision to dissolve the state Assembly in November was akin to personal empowerment. “Not allowing a democratic government to function and talking of panchayat as empowerment of democracy without participation of people and parties,” the party tweeted. “Dissolving assembly unethically is personal empowerment, not boycott.”