Jihad council calls for Indian election boycott
2 April 2004
Our Staff Correspondent
MUZAFFARABAD: The Muttahida Jihad Council, an alliance of Kashmiri mujahideen groups fighting Indian rule in held Kashmir, has called upon the Kashmiris to boycott the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls in the disputed Himalayan region. 'I appeal to the people of Jammu and Kashmir for a complete boycott of the polls for the Lok Sabha seats in the occupied territory to uphold the sacrifices which have been offered for liberation from Indian subjugation,' said MJC chief Syed Salahuddin in a statement issued here on Friday. He said that by holding polls, India wanted the world to consider Kashmir its integral part and to think that the people of Kashmir were abiding by the Indian Constitution. 'But the ground realities in the occupied territory clearly herald that the Kashmiris want to get rid of Indian subjugation and have sacrificed thousands of lives since partition of the subcontinent.' Mr Salahuddin also asked the government employees in held Kashmir to 'stay away from the so- called electoral exercise'. He said 'The government servants should refuse to become part of the election machinery that would conduct and announce results of the fraudulent process. They should not succumb to any official pressure in this regard.' Mr Salahuddin, who also heads the MJC's largest constituent, Hizbul Mujahideen, said some people were demonstrating an 'hypocritical attitude' which was regrettable. 'They profess themselves supporters of the freedom struggle on the one hand, but feel affection for New Delhi on the other. That is why they are also maintaining criminal silence with regard to the sham Lok Sabha polls,' he said. Though the MJC chief did not name such persons, but the reference was clearly about the moderate faction of Kashmir's main separatist alliance, All Parties Hurriyat Conference, led by Maulana Abbas Ansari. The APHC entered into direct talks with New Delhi in January this year, and since then the two sides have held two rounds of talks. The third in-depth round is scheduled for June. 'Those who support the so-called Lok Sabha polls are in fact out to sabotage the freedom struggle and backstab the Kashmiris,' Mr Salahuddin said. 'These people would never be forgiven, neither by the Kashmiris nor by history.'