Governor Satya Pal Malik’s appeal to terrorists to shoot corrupt politicians and bureaucrats has raised questions on the utterances of the constitutional head of the state although on Monday he claimed that as Governor he should have avoided the comment.

Malik, without relenting on his Sunday’s provocative statement, said he would have said the same thing even if he was not holding the constitutional post. Malik’s remark in Kargil on Sunday has triggered a controversy and was being viewed as an instigation to terrorists to shoot down political leaders whom they consider corrupt.

Hitting out at former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister and National Conference leader Omar Abdullah, who had reacted sharply to his remark, the Governor called him a “political juvenile”. “He is a political juvenile who tweets on everything. See the reaction to his tweets and you will find out, go on the streets and ask about him,” Malik said.

National Conference chief, Farooq Abdullah, was brief in his reaction and said that the Governor should refrain from making such controversial statements.

Stunned over the statement of the Governor, senior political leader and former minister Ghulam Hassan Mir told The Statesman over the phone from Srinagar that it was “unfortunate that the Governor has virtually issued a licence to terrorists to kill politicians”.

Mir said it was unfortunate that such an atrocious statement has come from the head of the most sensitive state of the country where several political leaders have already been gunned down while endeavouring to strengthen democracy. The political system in the state is already shattered due to the long-drawn instability.

CPI(M) leader and former MLA Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami while criticising the Governor’s statement said it amounts to giving licence to terrorists to eliminate anyone. The Constitutional head was competent to take action against corrupt elements under the law but he should speak in a responsible manner, he added.

Malik told a news agency that as a Governor he should have avoided the comment while adding that whatever he said was in a “fit of anger”.

“Whatever I said was in a fit of anger and frustration due to rampant corruption. As a Governor, I should not have said this. But if I was not holding this post, I would have said the same and would have been ready to bear the consequences,” Malik is reported to have said.

“Many of the political leaders and top bureaucrats are steeped in corruption here, they are criminals. As a Governor I should have avoided making such a comment, but as an individual this is what I feel,” he added.

Addressing a gathering at the inaugural event of Kargil Ladakh Tourism Festival 2019 at Khree Sultan Choo Sports Stadium Kargil on Sunday, Malik opined that the biggest disease in Jammu and Kashmir is corruption. “These youth with guns, are killing policemen for no reason, why are you killing them? Kill those who have looted your country and all the wealth from Kashmir, have you killed anyone out of them? Nothing will be achieved by this,” Governor had said.

Reacting sharply to Governor’s statement, Omar took to Twitter and said that if any politician or bureaucrat is killed in the state then it must be considered as the execution of Governor’s order.

“Save this tweet – after today any mainstream politician or serving/retired bureaucrat killed in Jammu and Kashmir has been murdered on the express orders of the Governor of J&K Satya Pal Malik,” tweeted Abdullah.

In another tweet, Omar attacked Malik by saying; “This man, ostensibly a responsible man occupying a constitutional position, tells militants to kill politicians perceived to be corrupt. Perhaps the man should find out about his own reputation in Delhi these days before sanctioning unlawful killings & kangaroo courts”.

Irked over the tweet of Omar, Malik told the news agency that he was here as Governor because of “my” reputation. He said that as Governor he would not spare any corrupt person and would go out of J&K only after teaching them a lesson.