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regular-article-logo Monday, 04 March 2024

Show of solidarity for Satya Pal Malik in Delhi

Around 500 people from 70 khaps had come to meet me today, says former J&K Governor

Pheroze L. Vincent New Delhi Published 23.04.23, 06:28 AM
Satya Pal Malik.

Satya Pal Malik. File Photo

Scores of supporters of former governor Satya Pal Malik staged sit-ins at a couple of police stations in Delhi on Saturday after being disallowed from congregating at a south Delhi park.

Malik, who recently raised grave questions about the 2019 Pulwama terror attack and Prime Minister Narendra Modi's purported response that evening, has been summoned by the CBI to provide "clarifications" relating to a corruption racket he had earlier flagged.

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Malik told The Telegraph that rallies had been called in his support in Rajasthan and Haryana too.

“Around 500 people from 70 khaps (traditional community organisations) had come to meet me today to show their solidarity,” he said.

Malik said: “As there was no place in my house (in Som Vihar), I was going to serve them lunch in the park (outside). But the police came there and said they won’t allow it. As the argument continued, I told them we will court arrest.”

Malik and his supporters were at Rama Krishna Puram police station from noon till around 2.30pm. Some of them were moved to Jafarpur Kalan police station, where too they protested.

“After a while they said, ‘You can go’,” Malik said.

“Rallies have been announced in Rajasthan and Haryana, and busloads of people had started from Haryana after what happened today…. I will attend a rally in Rajasthan on April 25. The CBI has said they will come home to question me on April 28.”

A large section of the crowds had been brought by farmer leader Gurnam Singh, who now heads the farmer wing of the Bharat Rashtra Samithi of Telangana chief minister K. Chandrashekar Rao.

Singh tweeted a video from R.K. Puram police station claiming he had been arrested with Malik.

Delhi police tweeted at 2.05pm: “False information is being spread on social media handles regarding detention of Sh. Satyapal Malik, Ex. Gov. Whereas, he himself has arrived at P.S. R K Puram along with his supporters. He has been informed that he is at liberty to leave at his own will.”

A police statement later explained that the protesters had not obtained permission and, told to go to Jantar Mantar since the park was not a place for protests, refused to leave.

In a recent interview with journalist Karan Thapar for The Wire where he had aired his allegations about Pulwama and Modi, Malik had responded to a suggestion that the Prime Minister would be angry with him by saying: “People like me more, I have a strong community (Jat). Especially, after solidarity with farmers, if they touch me, they won’t be able to have a public meeting.”

As Meghalaya governor, Malik had publicly slammed the Centre’s handling of the yearlong farmers’ movement that forced the revocation of three farm laws in December 2021.

Malik had told Thapar that when, as then Jammu and Kashmir governor, he had blamed the 2019 Pulwama massacre on the Centre’s own lapses, Modi had told him “tum abhi chup raho”. Malik had added that the Prime Minister “does not hate corruption very much” and is “ill-informed”.

In the same interview, he had reiterated allegations of corruption involving the BJP, which he claimed Modi was aware of. He named a business house, a former Jammu and Kashmir minister, and an RSS leader in connection with his allegations. The RSS leader has filed a Rs 300-crore defamation case against Malik.

The CBI filed two FIRs last year in connection with these cases, which Malik had highlighted earlier too, and questioned him about them in October 2022.

“In the first FIR, we booked Anil Ambani’s Reliance General Insurance Company Ltd and Trinity Reinsurance Brokers Limited over the alleged scam in the award of contracts for a group medical insurance scheme for government employees,” a CBI source told this newspaper on Friday.

The other FIR is on alleged corruption in Rs 2,200 crore worth of civil projects related to the Kiru hydel project in Jammu and Kashmir.

After the latest CBI summons, Malik had tweeted in Hindi: “I have exposed the sins of some people by speaking the truth. Maybe that’s why the call has come. I am the son of a farmer; I will not panic. I stand by the truth.”

Malik, a former lawmaker, had begun his political career under former Prime Minister Charan Singh before travelling across to the BJP via various Janata or socialist formations.

He recently expressed a wish to campaign for the Congress in the 2024 general election but said he would not join any party or contest polls.

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