Sopore: As Kashmir went to polling for third phase of Lok Sabha elections on Wednesday, Mohammad Afzal Guru’s wife Tabassum preferred to spend her day inside her house at Seer Jagir here.
“I have no interest to know whether people participate in elections. I did not even move out or watch TV to know the polling trend. I believe the people’s participation in elections will not make any difference to the Kashmir issue, or to the martyrs, who sacrificed their lives for the cause,” Tabassum said.
She, however, said that people “should learn to respect the sacrifices of the martyrs and think what they are voting for.”
“Last year, it was my husband who was martyred and tomorrow it may be one among those who are participating in elections. People know they will not be safe even after elections. Then what are they voting for,” Tabassum wondered.
She said that every family in Kashmir has sacrificed in one or other and people should set their priorities to “ensure that these sacrifices don’t go waste.”
Tabassum, whose husband Afzal was secretly hanged and buried in New Delhi’s Tihar Jail on February 9, 2013, said it was painful for her to read in newspapers how pro-India politicians play vote bank politics over Afzal’s hanging and blame each other for it. “I have always said that they have no right to even mention the name of my husband,” she said.
She said she does not follow the election turn out on media, but her lone son, Ghalib, who was at his grandparent’s home, regularly follows it on mobile internet and spews anger on people who participate in elections.
“Ghalib calls them traitors,” said Tabassum.
After Afzal’s hanging, Tabassum has been working and living with her son at a nursing home in Sopore and on weekends she visits her in-laws at Jagir.
“I usually come here on weekends. Afzal’s memories are associated with this place as he was born here and I had come as a bride here. But it is hard to stay here as it looks desolate now without Afzal’s presence and other family members,” said Tabassum.
The house was brimming with life, she said. “Now everything has changed here.”
Outside the Gurus residence, whole village of Jagir was on poll boycott and the villagers including youth and elders had preferred to use the day for cleaning the common village graveyard.
“How can we vote for the people who are responsible for hanging the great man of our village,” an elderly man told Kashmir Reader.
Jagir is divided into two villages by the Jhelum with no bridge connecting them. “Our part constitutes 140 households which are on (poll) boycott, and the other side usually goes for polling due to which we are defamed,” the man said.
The man was not exaggerating. At the polling station on their side, 10 out of 1100 votes had been polled by 12 pm.