Press Trust of India

Satya Pal Malik started public slandering of Kashmiris: Sajjad Lone

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Srinagar: Separatist-turned-politician Sajjad Lone, who heads a faction of People’s Conference, has accused last governor of erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir Satya Pal Malik of being the first person to start public slandering of Kashmiris and helping in removal of Article 370 in August 2019.

Lone, who was a part of separatist conglomerate Hurriyat Conference till assassination of his father in early 2000, also said that his attempt to stake claim to form a government in 2018 after the BJP withdrew support to PDP led by Mehbooba Mufti was “not serious”.

In an interview with the PTI, Lone acknowledged that he did not have numbers but had reached out to Malik asking him for some time for government formation.

Malik, while terming Lone as a “blue-eyed boy” of the Centre, had claimed that the Peoples Conference leader wanted to be chief minister just before the dissolution of the Assembly in 2018 with only six MLAs.

Throwing light on behind-the-scenes political manoeuvring that preceded the dissolution of the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly by him in 2018, Malik had claimed that Lone informed him that he had six MLAs but “told me if you administer me the oath, I will prove my majority in a week”, a proposal which was rejected.

However, Lone, who is contesting the Lok Sabha polls from Baramulla against former chief minister Omar Abdullah, alleged that the account given by Malik on the events of 2018 was exaggerated.

“To be very honest, we did not have the numbers. That is a reality. I called him, and I said Sir can you wait, I am in London. He said will do it and asked how much time will you take? That is it. He said send a fax and then the fax machine did not work. That is it.

“Then this whole thing was made. He is now talking about how Sajjad was asked to stake claim. I know Malik very well…There is a person who was governor, sent by a particular government, do you really think he had the spine?, the People’s Conference leader said.

“A person who did not have the spine to say no to Article 370 (revocation), and signed on every dotted line, he would have the spine to say no, I will not swear-in Sajjad? Tell me?” Lone asked.

Explaining his ‘not serious’ moves to form the government, Lone said he was just testing the waters.

“There was not a serious attempt. I was (just) testing the waters. But, I did have a lot of MLAs calling me to say ‘let us get together’. I was abroad, having a good time and I just thought it was not worth it. I just stayed back,” he said.

The People’s Conference leader alleged that Malik was the first person to start the public slandering of Kashmiris.

“He demolished Kashmiris by his role in removal of Article 370. The first public slandering, the institutionalised slandering of Kashmiris was done by him. He would say wherever I go, there are carpets. Having carpets means you are elitist? There are houses, don’t they have houses in his hometown?” he asked.

The other faction of People’s Conference is headed by his elder brother Bilal Lone who is still part of moderate Hurriyat Conference.

Press Trust of India

Press Trust of India is lead news agency of India

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