Srinagar: The opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Tuesday condemned the arrest of youth in Kashmir Valley ahead of polls, alleging the state government is resorting to illegitimate methods to subdue the anger against it.
“The fact that the government has to resort to such draconian methods at the end of its six-year rule and deny young men their right to vote by putting them in jails is a sad commentary on failures of the NC-Congress government,” PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti said.
Addressing poll rallies in north Kashmir’s Baramulla, she alleged hundreds of youths have been locked up across the Srinagar parliamentary constituency and rural areas in Kashmir to create an atmosphere of uncertainty and fear.
“While in Srinagar this has been done ahead of elections, in South Kashmir it followed polling, apparently in accordance with a plan.
“They (NC) benefitted from them in South Kashmir and then cracked down on them following the traditional use-and-throw policy of the NC,” Mehbooba said.
She said even after the state was on boil in the aftermath of Amarnath agitation in 2008, people came out in large numbers to participate in elections because their faith in the electoral system had been revived by the PDP-led government.
“Our party has been cautioning that the reversal of the policies of the previous government will lead to further alienation and it has unfortunately come true and the state government is now resorting to illegitimate methods to subdue the anger against it.
“It is sad that while elections should have been a time to celebrate the right to choose a government in Kashmir the occasion has been converted into terrorising people, especialy the youth,” the PDP head said.
Asking people to vote for the PDP candidate for the seat, Muzzafar Hussain Baig, Mehbooba said her party is not seeking a mandate for some of its leaders to occupy ministerial chairs in Delhi, but its aim is to end “repression and terror” which keeps revisiting Kashmir every now and then.
The Leader of the Opposition in the legislative assembly alleged the government has blocked all avenues for the youth to grow in a free and conducive atmosphere that could bring out the best in them.
The state unit of the CPI(M) also condemned the arrest of youth and political leaders in the valley and termed it as “atrocious and undemocratic”.
“Such suppressive measures to contain dissent adds to the already existing levels of alienation among the people,” CPI (M) state secretary Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami said in a statement here.
He said the arrest “spree” under the garb of law and order must stop and instead the youth be told to follow peaceful means to express their concern for justice and democratic rights.