Srinagar: Various pro-freedom groups Thursday lauded the people of south Kashmir for “boycotting” the elections despite “coercion” and said Kashmiris had once again expressed their “unflinching resolve and commitment towards the freedom struggle.”
In a statement, the Mirwaiz Umar Farooq-led Hurriyat Conference said the lack of interest shown by Kashmiris towards the “sham elections should act as an eye opener for the Indian leadership and their local collaborators.”
“The way people in South Kashmir have resisted the strong pressure of Indian troops and stayed indoors on the so- called polling day, it has been once again proven that Kashmiris have no interest in such futile exercises,” the statement said.
Syed Ali Geelani, who heads the parallel Hurriyat faction said the people of South Kashmir ‘have shown their greatness and pro-freedom sentiments by staying away from polls’ . He expressed hope that the people of central and north Kashmir too will follow suit and boycott the “elections.”
Geelani said the “young blood of Kashmir is filled with passion, enthusiasm and resistance which indicates that India has few days left in Kashmir and now they can’t continue their oppression and forced occupation for long.”
The Hurriyat chairman said that government ‘used every possible way to make this election drama a success’. “The whole pro-freedom leadership was imprisoned at their homes and different police stations, hundreds of youth were detained while as people were lured by employment and other promises and cash were also distributed among the people. The army and police are using their traditional tools of oppression, fear and harassment to force the people to vote,” he said.
Geelani said that ‘despite the curbs hurdles and the use of force, the people of Kashmir have out rightly rejected the pro-Indian people and this so-called election drama and have sent a clear message across the world’.
“Our educated generation has become politically mature and sensitive and they have got the differences between the right and the wrong,” he remarked.
The pro-freedom leader rejected the government figures on voting and said: “government is exaggerating the percentage of voting, while as the actual voter turnout is not more than 2 or 3 per cent and this low percentage is because of the situation of harassment and fear created by Indian forces, else there would have been zero per cent voting.”
Geelani thanked people especially the youth and said: “I am very pleased with their courage, spirit, bravery and sentiment of freedom and my belief has become firmer that now Indian can’t hold Kashmir under its forced occupation for long.”
Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front chief Mohammad Yasin Malik also hailed people of South Kashmir for boycotting parliamentary elections and said that the actual voting percentage was quite low. He said people in the four southern districts despite facing harassment from the army boycotted the polls and it should serve as an eye opener for New Delhi.
Hurriyat Conference Jammu Kashmir (HCJK) leader Shabir Ahmad Shah said by “boycotting the so-called polls, the people of south Kashmir have expressed their veneration for the blood of martyrs and loyalty to their pious mission.”