Srinagar: The academics, political experts and business community have termed the timing of poll dates by Election Commission of India as “crass insensitivity” in the wake of last month’s devastating floods.
“Again, the system has shown indifference towards people’s situation. The announcement of elections has come as if things are normal at this stage after the recent floods. Also, we have to understand that 70 percent people remained away from Lok Sabha polls,” professor of Law at Central University of Kashmir Dr Sheikh Showkat Hussain told Kashmir Reader.
“Polls will take precedence over rehabilitation of flood-hit people. People will be left high and dry. People are in distress and government of India doesn’t understand and has no concern for us. Conducting polls at this stage establishes the crass insensitivity of government of India,” a professor of English at Kashmir University and a member civil society Prof Nayeema Hameed told Kashmir Reader.
Echoing the same views, a professor of political science at KU Dr Noor Ahmad Baba said that people have suffered in the floods and calling elections at this juncture was “inappropriate”. “I would say it’s not appropriate to hold polls at this stage. People are in pain. By this announcement, nobody has thought of people, who have suffered in the recent catastrophe,” Baba said.
Assistant professor of political science Dr Aijaz A Wani said that there were two ways to look at the announcement. “From electoral point of view, the current government’s term expires by January. That way it is appropriate to hold polls on its date. But it somehow shows the insensitivity of political leadership at Delhi and state. People are in suffering and trying to rebuild their lives hence announcing polls is inappropriate.”
Wani said that ECI should have paid heed to government’s request. “The JK government said elections will hamper the rehabilitation process. They had requested earlier not to announce polls at this stage. Also, asking people to vote at this stage doesn’t seem appropriate. Perhaps, it can send wrong signal that New Delhi is not sensitive towards people of Kashmir.”
The Valley based business community too expressed its reservation for holding of polls and considered it insensitivity of the government of India. “Our concern is polls will affect the rehabilitation of flood affected people. The government of India has no policy for people of flood-hit people. We have lost everything but they don’t care about it and called for elections instead,” said Chairman of an amalgam of trade bodies Kashmir Economic Alliance and president Kashmir Traders and Manufacturers Federation Mohammad Yaseen Khan.