March 2017 News

Separatists To Intensify Poll-boycott Campaign Through Clerics

19 March 2017
Rising Kashmir
Mir Liyaqat Ali

Srinagar: With authorities either detaining or placing separatist leaders under house arrest, the separatist leadership is likely to run poll-boycott campaign through imams (clerics) and by distributing posters 'to prevent people from casting votes' in the upcoming by-polls. Ahead of the forthcoming Lok Sabha parliamentary polls for central Kashmir and south Kashmir seats to be held on April 9 and April 12 respectively, authorities have intensified crackdown on separatist leaders and have either detained them or placed under house arrest to prevent them from running poll boycott campaign. However, separatist leaders said they would intensify their campaign in both constituencies to stop people from casting votes. Chairman Hurriyat Conference (M), Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, who was placed under house detention last Friday, told Rising Kashmir that pro-freedom camp would try to reach people in every area with the poll boycott campaign. He said they would write to every Masjid imam to urge people to stay away from election process during their Friday sermons. 'We are also distributing posters and flags through our cadre to intensify the boycott campaign in all areas,' he said. 'Even if we are not allowed to reach out to people with our message, we will try to inform them through other means including media and social media,' Mirwaiz said. 'State government has accepted defeat in advance by restricting the movement of separatists to prevent them from boycott campaign. J&K has been turned into police state and we are not allowed to reach out to people to inform them about this futile election exercise which India is falsely portraying as mandate of the people to weaken the cause,' he said. Appealing people to stay away from elections, he said people should stand firm 'to take the ongoing freedom struggle to its logical end'. Hurriyat Conference (G) spokesperson, Ayaz Akbar told Rising Kashmir that people should not fall prey to hollow slogans of mainstream politicians, 'who come on roads to sell everything for power'. Akbar, who too has been placed under house detention, said authorities have turned it into one-sided game by not allowing separatists to go to public. Akbar said separatists would go for poll-boycott campaign through other means including distribution of posters and would appeal people through clerics during Friday sermons to stay away from elections. 'We will request and appeal people through all other means to stay away from poll process, as authorities are unlikely to allow us to reach them with the boycott campaign,' he said. He said Hurriyat (G) chairman Syed Ali Geelani, Hurriyat (M) chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front chairman Mohammad Yasin Malik besides dozens of other separatist leaders and activists have been either detained or placed under house detention in past few days.