Elections an established democratic practice, but not in Kashmir: Mirwaiz
Srinagar: Hurriyat Conference (M) Chairman and Jamia Masjid’s head cleric, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq on Friday said that democracy itself is the biggest casualty in Kashmir, saying that a strange kind of democracy is in practice in the Valley.
Addressing a gathering in Jamia Masjid on the eve of Friday congregational prayers, Mirwaiz said that no one is averse to the elections, it is an established democratic practice across the globe where people exercise their choice and decide who and how they want to be ruled, but in Kashmir that is not the case.
“Election in the Valley is used as a means to continue forced rule,” he said, adding that the pro-freedom group was never against elections but holding polls “in presence of lakhs of forces is nothing but a military exercise aimed at damaging Kashmir.”
“Elections are meaningless in presence of draconian laws like AFSPA, mass arrests of resistance leaders and the killings of youth,” he said, adding that “we believe in democracy but not the one, which is in practice in Kashmir under presence of lakhs of forces.”
Mirwaiz added that the democracy in Kashmir is military might. “Hurriyat and the people of Kashmir will participate in elections for right to self-determination as that will pave way for real democracy,” he said.
“Holding elections has no meaning for in a place where all basic human democratic political and even religious rights of people are trampled are usurped through military might. Where democracy itself is the biggest casualty in such a place, what can local or any election achieve,” he asked.
“Each day military and police cordons are laid in towns and villages where youth are killed, maimed, thrashed or incarcerated homes blasted elderly harassed and placed under detention, even women killed and beaten, leadership arbitrarily caged and put in jails. Where all power and control flows from the barrel of the gun in such a place holding elections is not only meaningless but a mockery,” Mirwaiz added.
“A strange kind of democracy is in practice in Kashmir, at the behest of lakhs of state forces present here with unbridled powers given to them and absolute immunity from all accountability. They can barge into any house and kill anybody at their whim and will and or tie a civilian to jeeps as human shields and be rewarded for it!,” he said.
“Jails within and outside are filled by our young and old who are slapped with draconian PSA for their political conviction while witch hunt of leadership in fictitious cases is the order of the day,” he said, adding that “no one is averse to elections, it is an established democratic practice across the globe.
He said that elections will continue to be futile exercise in Kashmir unless ‘democracy is not restored and allowed to flourish in the real sense’.
“And the first step to that is to allow people of disputed J&K to decide their fate by giving them the basic right to self-determination,” he said, adding that unless, New Delhi takes concrete steps to resolve the core issue of Kashmir, people will continue to stay away from every election.”
Mirwaiz took a dig at the authorities for claiming that elections were for the development, stating that when people’s fundamental right, the right to live, has been snatched, development hardly matters.
He said resistance leadership and the people of Kashmir have time and again rejected every election thrust on them with a view to dilute the disputed nature of Kashmir and strengthened and legitimize rule in J&K.
“Govt of India can’t stop people of Kashmir from demanding their legitimate right, the right to self-determination,” he said.
“People of Kashmir will once again reject the sham polls commencing from November 17 in the same way they out rightly rejected the Urban Local Body polls and send a message to one and all that people of Kashmir reject farcical exercises,” he said, urging people to observe complete strike on November 17 and to follow the JRL’s protest and shutdown program announced for the poll bound areas on election days.
Meanwhile, after Friday prayers Mirwaiz visited the residence of senior Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Geelani’s to condole the demise of Geelani’s eldest son-in–law Ghulam Hassan Makhdoomi, who passed away recently after a brief spell of illness at SKIMS, Soura.
Mirwaiz also offered special fateh prayers for the deceased and prayed for highest standards in Janah for him.