Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik on Tuesday said the children of ordinary Kashmiris had lost their lives to terrorism while the children of leaders of the separatist Hurriyat Conference, mainstream political parties, and religious preachers and clerics had been unscathed, PTI reported.

Separatists tell the children of ordinary Kashmiris that “the way to paradise is to get killed”, the governor claimed in his address at the seventh convocation ceremony of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi University in Jammu’s Katra town.

Malik blamed affluent and powerful sections of Kashmiri society for crushing the dreams of people in the state, and destroying their lives. He said people should understand this truth and join the Centre’s efforts to bring about peace and progress in the region.

On August 5, the Union government had abrogated Jammu and Kashmir’s special constitutional status, and imposed restrictions on movement and a communications blackout.

Malik criticised intelligence agencies in his speech. “I have not taken input from the intelligence agencies,” he said. “They are not telling the truth to Delhi or us. I directly talked to 150 to 200 youths and tried to identify those in colleges and universities who do not stand up for the national anthem. I talked to them and those...whose dreams have been crushed, are misled and are angry...they do not want Hurriyat, us or Delhi government or autonomy because they were shown that the way to paradise is by getting martyred.”

The governor said he told those youth that Kashmir was already a paradise. Malik pointed out that 22,000 Kashmiri youth were studying in other parts of India. “Why do they have to go outside for education?” he asked. “It is because we have not been able to provide standard education in the state over the last many decades. If the money which was pumped into Kashmir was used by politicians and bureaucrats in a proper manner, the roof of your homes would have been of gold.”

Malik said he sanctioned 53 degree colleges in the state last year. Fifty more colleges would soon open in Jammu and Kashmir, he added. “I have upgraded 242 schools to higher secondary school overnight.”

Malik claimed that the position of the governor was weak. “Governor is a weak entity,” he explained. “He does not have the right to hold a press conference or talk his heart out. I remain apprehensive for almost three days hoping that my words have not annoyed anyone in Delhi.”

The governor awarded 931 degrees, including PhDs, at the ceremony. He also presented 12 gold and 17 silver medals to meritorious students.

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