‘The government’s attitude of scaring me by any means won’t work because I have my people with me,’ said Bharatiya Janata Party leader and former Jammu and Kashmir governor Satya Pal Malik, moments after Delhi Police released the 20-25 Khap leaders who had been held earlier in the day from outside Malik’s house.
Around 250 to 300 people from Haryana, Delhi, Rajasthan, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh had gathered at Malik’s house in New Delhi’s Som Vihar at around 12.30 pm to show solidarity with Malik, who will be questioned by the Central Bureau of Investigation on April 28. The CBI’s note, informing him of the questioning, comes within a week of him making startling revelations on the Pulwama terror attack and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s alleged tolerance for corruption in an interview with The Wire.
Khap leaders claimed that police told them that they cannot hold a meeting near Malik’s house. Malik told reporters that he told police that he had called the attendees for lunch at his house but because there was not enough space, he led them to a park to eat. Eventually, some of the leaders were detained.
“We had courted arrest,” Malik told reporters.
Malik entered the R.K. Puram police station along with the detained leaders, purportedly to get them released. Delhi Police, meanwhile, tweeted that Malik himself had not been detained.
In a statement later in the day, Special CP, Law & Order (Zone II), Delhi Police Sagar Preet Hooda said that 24 people who had been detained had been released. According to Hooda, the people were detained as they have gathered for a protest without the requisite permission and did not leave even after being told to. Malik, Hooda continued, had come to the police station with some of his supporters of his own volition.
“The Khap leaders are here to express solidarity with the cause,” Malik said upon getting out.
“All the pradhans and Malik ji are inside the police station…we won’t leave unless the leaders are all released,” a khap leader camping inside the police station premises told The Wire. “This is a corrupt government, he spoke the truth on Pulwama…Satya Pal Malik will not remain quiet,” he had added.
By 3 pm the Khap leaders were released and Malik too made his way back home, after commenting briefly to reporters on his plans in the next few days.
Malik said he plans to travel to various states to meet the people who support him.
Malik was informed by the CBI that he would be questioned on the Reliance Insurance issue – the scheme that RSS and BJP leader Ram Madhav was allegedly pushing Malik to pass while he was the governor of Jammu and Kashmir, and which Malik cancelled.
Malik is a BJP leader and has been governor not just of J&K but four other states.
In the interview to The Wire, Malik had said that he had initially refused Reliance Insurance permission for starting the insurance scheme that it wanted to in Kashmir but that it had made a lot of government employees unhappy. He then sent a letter asking for liberal changes to the scheme, which he implied prompted a visit from an upset Madhav to his house.
This article was originally published on The Wire on April 22, 2023 and written by Atul Ashok Howale.
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