Hurriyat, JKLF Announce Boycott Of J&K Assembly Polls

19 October 2008
The Times of India

Srinagar: The Hurriyat Conference and other separatist outfits on Sunday said they will boycott the assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir which they termed as a 'futile exercise'. 'Hurriyat has nothing to do with this meaningless exercise and would ask the people to stay away from it as well,' Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, chairman of the separatist amalgam's moderate faction, said after the Election Commission announced the seven-phased poll schedule for the border state. The Hurriyat leader said rather than focusing on the real issue- the settlement of Kashmir, the government was trying to give an impression that Kashmir was an 'administrative' problem which could be fixed by holding elections. 'Instead of hitting at the root of the problem, they (Centre) are only hacking off the leaves. Elections have been held in the past and these will be held in future with no results... it is futile exercise unless and until Kashmir issue is resolved,' the Mirwaiz said. He said the issue can be resolved only through a composite dialogue process between India and Pakistan in which Kashmiri leadership should be involved. Chairman of Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) Mohammad Yaseen Malik said his group will canvass actively for a poll boycott in the state. 'It is the democratic right of the people whether to vote or not...,' Malik said. The JKLF chief said elections have failed to resolve the Kashmir issue in the past. 'Elections are not a solution to the issue ... these have failed in the past and will fail in future as well,' he added. Asked if his faction would run a poll boycott campaign, the Mirwaiz said a decision on this will be taken in consultation with the separatists' coordination committee, formed after the Amarnath land transfer row erupted.