Separatists Hold Poll-boycott Rallies

11 April 2014
The Tribune (Chandigarh)

Srinagar: To press for the boycott of the forthcoming parliamentary elections in Kashmir, several separatist leaders, including senior Hurriyat leader and Geelani's close aide Ashraf Sehrai and Democratic Freedom Party head Shabir Shah held rallies in different parts of Srinagar today. While as Sehrai addressed an election boycott rally at Lawaypora on the city outskirts, General Secretary of the hardline Hurriyat Conference Ghulam Nabi Sumjhi addressed a rally at Reeni Poar at Anantnag in south Kashmir. These leaders urged the people to boycott the elections. 'During these rallies, these Hurriyat leaders urged the people to stay away from polls and termed the elections a drama,' a spokesman for the hardline Hurriyat said in a statement here. 'Though the Pro-India parties in Kashmir seek vote for water, electricity and roads, these elections are used by India to hoodwink the international community on Kashmir issue,' he quoted them as having said. During these election rallies, these Hurriyat leaders criticised both the National Conference and the PDP for their 'divisive policies and for sabotaging the Kashmir cause', he said. Meanwhile, leaders of breakaway Hurriyat Conference Jammu Kashmir Shabir Shah, Nayeem Khan and Mushtaq-ul-Islam today address a rally at Ompora, Budgam, on the Srinagar outskirts, urging the people to stay away from the polls. Meanwhile, in his Friday sermon, Moderate Hurriyat chief Mirwaiz Umar Farooq while calling for boycotting the elections urged the people to make Saturday shutdown call a success. Reiterating his demand not to extend the lease of Tosa Maidan firing range, Mirwaiz also called for 'complete demilitarisation' of Kashmir. 'We will oppose any attempt to extend the Tosa Maidan lease. But at the same time, our demand for complete withdrawal of troops from Kashmir stands,' Mirwaiz said while addressing a gathering in Jama Mosque, wherein he termed the elections as 'a meaningless exercise, which has changed nothing on ground in Kashmir since 1947'. Senior Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leader Tariq Hameed Karra said today that staying home on election day meant voting for the National Conference. 'The NC has time and again back-stabbed the people of Kashmir and has nothing to show by way of performance. Therefore, they are exclusively counting on boycott to continue to stay in power,' Karra said while addressing public meetings in Ganderbal district. Karra, who is the PDP candidate from Srinagar, claimed that though separatists had right to call for boycott of elections, they equally had to think whether it helped the cause of the ordinary people or not, who had got trampled, exploited under the cruel politics of the National Conference over the years. 'The people of Kashmir, who have suffered immensely over the last many decades because of the NC leadership, too deserve a system which shall take care of them in the most humane manner without letting the blood to flow down the drains. All that requires is that we shall look at the ground realities and understand the pain of people, who want to get rid of the NC to pave way for a broader discourse about governance and politics to emerge from here,' he added.