Former Governor of Jammu and Kashmir, Satyapal Malik’s comments on the Pulwama attack have received initial support from a section of khap and farmer leaders, which is now gaining traction in Haryana. Local meetings have been held in Haryana, and now the khap leaders have called for a meeting in Delhi on Saturday, April 22, to discuss the issue further.
Reportedly, khap leaders from other northern Indian states are also expected to attend the meeting, which will be held at RK Puram. “In the meeting, we will demand a Supreme Court-monitored inquiry into the issues raised by Satya Pal Malik regarding the Pulwama attack,” said Om Prakash Dhankar, a Dhankar khap leader. “In addition, the former governor’s security should be beefed up to ensure his safety. We will send a memorandum to the President and Chief Justice of India following the meeting.”
The general secretary of Meham Chaubisi Sarvkhap, Dharam Singh, stated that his khap will actively participate in the Delhi meeting, and a farmer leader from Jind Azad Singh Palwa said that farmers will also attend. Satyapal Malik had claimed a few days ago that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had asked him to remain silent on some alleged lapses he pointed out after the February 14, 2019, Pulwama attack, in which 40 CRPF personnel were killed.
Senior farmer leader from Punjab, Balbir Singh Rajewal, expressed solidarity with Malik on Sunday, tweeting, “Satya pal Malik bravely exposed Pulwama. Farmers are his protectors. He must carry on. All Farmer’s organizations are with him.” Satyapal Malik had supported the farmers who had launched a year-long protest against three contentious central farm laws, which have now been repealed.
It is worth noting that khap panchayats are social bodies primarily formed on the basis of ‘gotras’ and groups of nearby villages. They were initially formed to resolve disputes between individuals and villages, but have been known to come under criticism for being regressive in their views on matters such as women’s rights and inter-caste marriages.