Kashmiri Pandits decide to boycott election

9 November 2008
The Dawn

New Delhi: Terming the forthcoming elections in occupied Kashmir as a futile exercise, Jammu and Kashmir Democratic Forum has announced a boycott of the polls. The decision came at a day-long meeting of the working group of the forum held in Jammu with its president Pandit Bhushan Bazaz in the chair. The meeting discussed the implications of the elections and passed a resolution appealing to the pandits to be wary of those people who want to contest elections and spoil the image of Kashmiri pandits. Speaking at the meeting, Pandit Bhushan Bazaz said that in circumstances when the Indian forces were parading the streets, hundreds of political leaders and activists, who were opposing the elections, being arrested, curfew enforced in major parts of occupied Kashmir and people being denied their right to protest and hold demonstrations, the election exercise was obviously a big farce. He said these sham elections could neither be democratic nor reflective of political aspirations of people. Criticising successive governments in occupied Kashmir for the miserable plight of pandits, Bazaz said the elections were not a solution to the problems being faced by his community. SHOT DEAD Indian forces shot dead 11 suspected militants in fighting over the weekend in the disputed region, police said on Sunday. Five militants were killed in the Poonch district, close to the Line of Control, a police official said, adding that four others were killed in the southern district of Doda.