Elections in Kashmir futile unless democracy restored: Mirwaiz

Elections in Kashmir futile unless democracy restored: Mirwaiz
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SRINAGAR: Chairman of his faction of Hurriyat Conference and Valley’s head priest Mirwaiz Umar Farooq on Friday said elections will continue to be a futile exercise in Kashmir unless democracy is not restored and allowed to flourish in real sense. And the first step towards that, he said, is to allow people of disputed J&K to decide their fate by giving them the basic right to self-determination.
“No one is averse to elections. It is an established democratic practice across the globe where people exercise their choice and decide who and how they want to be ruled. But in Kashmir that is not the case; it is used as a means to continue forced rule,” Mirwaiz said while addressing Friday congregation at the historic Jamia Masjid Srinagar.
Mirwaiz said unless New Delhi takes concrete steps to resolve the core issue of Kashmir, people will continue to stay away from every “so-called” election.
Taking a dig at authorities for claiming that elections were for development, the pro-freedom leader said when people’s fundamental right – the right to live – has been snatched, development hardly matters.
“The resistance leadership and the people of Kashmir have time and again rejected every election thrust on them with a view to dilute the disputed nature of Kashmir and strengthen and legitimise Indian rule in J&K,” he said.
Mirwaiz said the Government of India cannot stop the people of Kashmir from demanding their legitimate right – the right to self-determination.
“People will once again reject the sham polls commencing from November 17 the same way they out-rightly rejected the Urban Local Bodies polls, and send a message to one and all that people of Kashmir reject farcical exercises,” he said.
“Holding elections has no meaning in a place where all basic human democratic political and even religious rights of people are trampled are usurped through military might. In such a place where democracy itself is the biggest casualty, what can local or any election achieve,” he asked.
Each day military and police cordons are laid in towns and villages where youth are killed, maimed, thrashed or incarcerated, homes blasted, elderly harassed and placed under detention, even women killed and beaten, leadership arbitrarily caged and put in jails; where all power and control flows from the barrel of the gun, in such a place, holding elections is not only meaningless but a mockery, the resistance leader said.
Meanwhile after Friday prayers, Mirwaiz visited the residence of Syed Ali Geelani to condole the demise of his eldest son-in-law Ghulam Hassan Makhdoomi, who passed away recently after a brief spell of illness at SKIMS, Soura.
Mirwaiz also offered special fateha prayers for the deceased and prayed for highest standards in Jannah for him.