Hurriyat Eschews Poll Boycott In Kashmir

16 April 2009
The Indian Express

Srinagar: Moderate Hurriyat conference has eschewed the use of the word boycott in its policy towards the ongoing parliamentary polls in the state. This despite the fact that its hardline political faction has chosen to call for the poll boycott and even expressed resolve to conduct an anti-election campaign. The decision to look beyond boycott was reached after a three day marathon meeting at the amalgam’s Rajbagh headquarters in Srinagar. “Kashmir is a disputed territory and to hold sham elections in the state is a dubious act which will not affect the status of the dispute,” the statement issued to the press said. “Polls have proven futile in the past and will prove so again”. However, the statement is conspicuously absent of any mention or reference to the boycott call. This is in contrast to the recent Assembly polls when the doves had explicitly called for the boycott and even tried to lead a boycott campaign. But Thursday’s statement only repeats the clichéd Hurriyat stance. “Election were never the issue with us. They make no sense in the absence of the settlement of the larger Kashmir conflict. Our position is that elections over the past six decades have resolved nothing. Kashmir problem as it existed at the time of partition remains the same. This election similarly will make no difference,” the statement says further. However, the decision today has been taken in the absence of the chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq who is in New Delhi for his medical treatment. The omission of the boycott call is likely to create a further divide between hawks and doves and further splinter separatist leadership. More so, after leading separatist Sajad Lone’s decision to contest parliamentary polls from Baramulla.