Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik on Sunday said militants should kill those who have looted the state instead of targeting innocent people and security personnel, The Indian Express reported.

“The boys with guns are unnecessarily killing unarmed people,” Malik said at the inauguration of a tourism festival in Kargil. “They are killing PSOs [personal security officers] and SPOs [special police officers]. Why are you killing them? Kill those who have looted the wealth of your country and your Kashmir. Have you killed any of them so far?”

However, the governor added that guns were never a solution to a crisis, and cited the example of the Tamil separatist group Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in Sri Lanka, PTI reported. “The government of India will never go down before a gun,” he said, asking militants not to take the route of violence.

Malik said only 250 militants remained in the Valley and claimed that 50% of them were Pakistanis who would be killed in encounters unless they surrender. “The maulivis promise you heaven after death but here I am promising you heaven while you live, provided you shun the path of violence,” he added.

Malik said the biggest problem in Jammu and Kashmir was corruption, and claimed that retired bureaucrats owned bungalows in Delhi. The governor said there was no limit to the wealth of the big families who ruled the state. “They have one house in the state, another in Delhi, Dubai and London...,” The Indian Express quoted him as saying. “I guarantee you that in the next two-three months, you will seen two-three big fish, who have been ministers, seeking bail. And then, I will ask you to applaud.”

Malik said politicians talk a different language in Delhi and a different one in Kashmir. “They should speak in one language at both places and need not scare us.”

On Monday, Malik told ANI that being the governor he should not have made such a comment, but “my personal feeling is the same as I said”. He said: “Whatever I said was in a fit of anger and frustration due to the rampant corruption here. Many political leaders and big bureaucrats are steeped in corruption here.”

Former state Chief Minister Omar Abdullah lashed out at the governor for his comments. “This man, ostensibly a responsible man occupying a constitutional position, tells militants to kill politicians perceived to be corrupt,” Abdullah tweeted. “Perhaps the man should find out about his own reputation in Delhi these days before sanctioning unlawful killings and kangaroo courts.”

He also said: “Save this tweet – after today any mainstream politician or serving/retired bureaucrat killed in J&K has been murdered on the express orders of the Governor of J&K Satyapal Malik.”

About Abdullah’s reaction, Malik said: “He is a political juvenile tweeting on everything, see the reaction to his tweets and you will find out.”