Separatists Upbeat With Low Voter Turnout

30 April 2009
The Indian Express

Srinagar: As fewer people turned out to vote in south Kashmir on Thursday, the separatists are upbeat terming it a success of their boycott call. Hurriyat hardliner Syed Ali Shah Geelani has renewed his boycott call and asked people of Srinagar and Baramulla to follow the people of Anantnag. “The people (of Anantnag) deserve admiration for showing their affiliation to the freedom struggle by boycotting the elections,” the chairman of the hard line faction of the separatist conglomerate, Geelani said. “We apologize for the inconvenience caused to the people by the 50-hour strike call given by us. The aim of such calls isn’t to put people to trouble. Such calls are necessary for the bigger cause”. Geelani repeated that to call for boycott is the democratic right of a person. “The rules and regulation of the Indian Election Commission give a person right to motivate people for boycott the same way as the contestants motivate them to vote,” he said. “But here everything is in reverse order and what could be our response (other than calling for strike)”. The Hurriyat leader has once again called for peaceful protests after Friday prayers. The Hurriyat chairman said that they have reports of five to eight per cent voting in the Anantnag parliamentary constituency and the voters are likely the family members and the relatives of the contestants. The Hurriyat moderates too have congratulated the people of Anantnag for “boycotting” the elections and said that it reflects the vision, wisdom and political understanding of the freedom loving people. “India should read the writing on the wall and take concrete steps for the resolution of Kashmir issue,” moderate Hurriyat chairman, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq said. “We are hopeful that the people of Srinagar and Baramulla parliamentary constituencies will follow the people of Anantnag and boycott the lections”. The pro-freedom Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) said that by boycotting the elections the people have once again shown that no political manoeuvring can keep people away from their just and democratic right of freedom. “The people of Kashmir have once again announced their decision peacefully and through democratic means,” JKLF Chief Yasin Malik said. “And their decision is that the people of Kashmir can be part of a democratic process only when Kashmir issue is resolved as per their wishes and by making them part of the resolution process”. The women’s hardliner separatist organization, Dukhtaran-e-Millat has termed the people election boycott as vote against India. “By staying away from the elections, the people have once again proved that the majority of the people in Jammu and Kashmir never wanted to remain with India,” said chairperson of the women’s outfit, Syeda Aasiya Andrabi. She termed the official poll turnout as manipulation and asked the people of other constituencies to follow the people of Anantnag.