SRINAGAR: Chairman of a faction of the People’s Conference, Sajad Gani Lone, on Monday sought intervention of the Election Commission of India (ECI) to put an end to the fresh arrest spree of youth in Kashmir. Addressing a series of poll meetings in different parts of north Kashmir, Lone, according to a statement, said the National Conference-Congress and People’s Democratic Party have “invented yet another method of pre -poll rigging.”
“First the ruling coalition wants to fight the elections with the active and overt support of the bureaucracy. Not content with the bureaucratic support, the ruling coalition has now gone on an arrest spree,” Lone said, adding “the young men are being picked up and arrested on charges of stone pelting. They are being tortured in custody.”
Lone said the whole exercise of arrest and torture is a fig leaf of active and blatant pre-poll rigging. He appealed to the ECI to intervene and put an end to the blatant violation of the rights of these young men. “The Election Commission needs to understand that there is a historical trust deficit in terms of fair conduct of polls in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Inaction by the Election Commission is tantamount to passive facilitation of pre-poll rigging,” he said.
“It is high time for the Election Commission to step in, if not for the Kashmiris, maybe for the sake of its own credibility,” Lone said. He said the NC-Congress government has not learnt any lesson from the rigging of 1987 elections. “We all need to remember the infamous rigging by the NC Congress coalition in 1987 and its consequences. The coalition is as shameless in its resolve to hold on to power as it was in 1987.”
He said the opposition PDP too has stepped in and insisted on the arrest of young men on charges of stone -pelting in district Baramulla.