Kill Those Who Looted Kashmir, Not Innocent People: J&K Governor Satya Pal Malik
Srinagar: Stirring a political controversy, Jammu and Kashmir governor Satya Pal Malik on Sunday asked militants to stop killing innocent people, including security personnel, and rather target ‘those who have looted the wealth of Kashmir for years’, a statement which evoked severe criticism from mainstream politicians.
‘These boys who have picked up guns are killing their own people, they are killing PSOs (personal security officer) and SPOs (special police officers). Why are you killing them? Kill those who have looted the wealth of Kashmir. Have you killed any of them?’ Malik asked, speaking at a tourism function in Kargil of Ladakh region.
The governor’s comments drew a sharp reaction from former chief minister and senior Jammu and Kashmir National Conference leader Omar Abdullah, who said Malik should check his own reputation in Delhi.
‘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 (sic),’ Abdullah tweeted.
Later, the NC leader said, ‘Save this tweet – after today any mainstream politician or serving/retired bureaucrat killed in J&K has been murdered on the express orders of the Governor of J&K Satyapal Malik.’
‘Is he trying to promote a jungle raj?’ asked state Congress chief G.A. Mir. He said the governor’s statement does not behove the constitutional position occupied by Malik.
However, during his speech, the governor was quick to add that guns could never be the solution and cited the example of LTTE in Sri Lanka.
‘The government of India will never go down before a gun,’ he said, asking the militants to not take the route of violence.
Malik said only 250 militants were remaining in the Valley, out which 50 per cent were Pakistanis who will be eliminated in encounters, unless they surrender.
‘The maulivis promise you heaven after death but here I am promising you heaven while you live, provided you shun the path of violence,’ he added in his appeal to the local militants.
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Taking a veiled dig at mainstream politicians, Malik said these leaders talk a different language in Delhi and a different one in Kashmir.
‘They should speak in one language at both places and need not scare us,’ he said.
The Governor was speaking at the inauguration of Kargil Ladakh Tourism Festival-2019 at Khree Sultan Cho Sports Stadium Kargil.
Malik said the twin districts of Kargil and Leh have huge tourism potential and that more such tourism festivals were needed.
He said the Kargil Airport’s expansion work will begin soon and that Rs 200 crore has been sanctioned for it. This will not only provide round-the-year connectivity but also give a new dimension to the tourism sector in the region, Malik said.
The governor said the state administration is committed for the holistic development of Ladakh division and concrete measures were being pursued towards this goal.
The government is taking strict measures to bring transparency in the system and removing various bottlenecks in the path of progress, he added.
On the occasion, the Governor announced the establishment of two degree colleges in Kargil district, including a Women’s Degree College.
Chandrayaan-2 Second Attempt: It’s Crucial For Our Scientific Ego
Chandrayaan-2, India’s 2nd lunar mission, is set to launch at 2:43 PM on 22 July 2019, almost a decade after Chandrayaan-1. The initial 15 July launch was delayed due to a technical snag in the launch vehicle GSLV Mk-III.
Chandrayaan-2 is expected to reach the lunar surface in about 50 days from the launch. The lander (Vikram) and rover (Pragyaan) are expected to touch the lunar surface in the South Polar region of the moon by mid-September 2019, after taking into account the 15 July – 22 July delay.
This lunar mission aims to follow up with the previous one and get a more nuanced understanding of the moon. Chandrayaan-2 intends to study the evidence of water molecules, the lunar surface and sub-surface in detail. It also seeks to gather insights on the origin of the moon.
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India’s Deep Space Missions & Achievements
The area where water presence is speculated is chosen as the landing location. The landing of the Moon Impact Probe (MIP) from Chandrayaan-1 happened around this region. All the payloads in the mission are scientifically important, and will give insights regarding the presence, location and amount of resources on the moon. The payloads are Chandrayaan-2 Large Area Soft X-Ray Spectrometer, Chandrayaan-2 Atmospheric Compositional Explorer 2, Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer, and the Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy.
The lander and rover will remain active for two weeks, and the Orbiter will continue working for one year.
India has several achievements to flaunt in the outer space arena since the beginning of its space programme. In the 2000s, India started deep space missions such as Chandrayaan-1 (2008) and Mangalyaan, India’s Mars Orbiter Mission (2013). Mangalyaan was the world’s first mission to successfully enter Mars orbit in its first attempt. Moreover, Chandrayaan-1 was the first time that water molecules were discovered on the Moon.
India has also detected lava tubes from its first lunar mission which can potentially form the basis for human habitation, due to its ability to provide safety from radiations, meteors, asteroids, and cosmic rays, and is more apt for humans in terms of gravity and atmospheric pressure requirements.
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The Purpose & Strategic Importance Of Chandrayaan-2
Chandrayaan-2 is important for India to further assert its scientific competence. Though it was Chandrayaan-1 that found evidence of water on the moon, it was unable to publish the results due to anomalies in calibration. In reality, the water was discovered by instrument, a Moon Mineralogy Mapper, put up by NASA.
This mission should be an opportunity to discover more aspects of the moon which can answer the questions we have been asking for centuries.
Chandrayaan-2 will be looking for mineral compositions and elements on the moon, especially Helium-3 as it can be a big source of energy for the country in the long term.
Several other countries have plans to mine for Helium-3 on the moon. Hence, Chandrayaan-2 has a scientific as well as strategic importance for the country.
Recently, Israel attempted its first ever mission to the moon which failed due to an engine glitch just a few minutes before landing. The world has its eyes set on India’s mission with this being the 3rd lunar mission in this year alone. In January 2019, China, in a first, landed on the dark side of the moon.
The landing of Chang’e-4 was smooth, and the goals for their mission are similar to that of India. The most challenging part of Chandrayaan-2 is going to be landing, since the lander is attempting a soft lander which is a precarious job, but a critical achievement. Initially, Russian Space Agency Roscosmos was set to develop the lander for Chandrayaan -2, but it was unable to do so in time. It also took a pragmatic and responsible approach by withdrawing later, since it speculated some technical snags.
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A Tilt In ISRO’s Focus
India has developed the lander indigenously, and needs to make sure it lands efficiently. This will be the fourth flight of GSLV MkIII, the same launcher which is planned for India’s human space flight – Gaganyaan. Any failure of the rocket can create a big setback for Gaganyaan, as the mission is expected to launch in 2022.
Gradually there has been a tilt in the focus of ISRO’s activities. From focusing merely on commercial satellite launches, it has started exploring deep space, and has announced its first human space flight, Gaganyaan, by 2022.
Eventually, India plans to build a space station in Earth’s lower orbit by 2030.
India has already carved a niche for itself with regard to space commerce, and now seeks to expand its scientific insights with more missions and experiments. For a country with such ambitious plans, and having invested a substantial amount of money in these missions, India must demonstrate its credibility at every stage.
Deep Space Missions: An Approach India Can Take
Apart from science and technology, India is also driven by prestige when it embarks on these missions. India needs to have a clear agenda and make a roadmap for its future activities. This will enable India to develop technologies and experiments which are crucial for nation-building, overall development, and will cater to India’s strategic needs. Previously, India has conducted deep space missions, but there is little to no clarity regarding the motive, and the future plan of these missions.
One approach that India can take with regard to its deep space missions is to first identify the question it wants to answer and plan a mission around it.
ISRO has also started taking small steps related to the publicity of its mission to the people, by uploading three detailed videos on YouTube on the mission. A planned outreach program, such as the live telecast of the launch, will help ISRO gain popularity, and increase the zeal and scientific temperament of the country.
The integration of all three modules of Chandrayaan-2 are completed, and will soon be integrated with the launch vehicle, GLSV Mk III.
(Kiran Dave is pursuing a Masters in Geopolitics and International Relations at Manipal University. Her research area is Outer Space, and India’s Capabilities in Outer Space. Currently, she is interning at NIAS, Bengaluru, and writing her first paper on India’s first human space flight, the Gaganyaan Mission. This is an opinion piece. The views expressed above are the author’s own.