SRINAGAR: Three days after Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti announced that Panchayat elections in the State would be held from February 15, 2018, the separatist leaders on Thursday called for a boycott of the panchayat polls.
The separatist leaders Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Mohammad Yasin Malik in a joint statement today called for a boycott of upcoming panchayat elections in the State.
“These elections are meant to harm the national interests of Kashmiri people. Any sort of election under Indian system, be it for assembly, parliament, municipal, committee or Panchayat is meant only to harm the national interests of Kashmiris. We cannot vote and hence strengthen the hands of the tyrants,” they alleged.
On Monday, Mehbooba announced during her meeting with State Governor N N Vohra that the PDP-BJP coalition government has decided to hold Panchayat elections in the State from February 15, 2018.
The separatist leaders appealed people of Kashmir to boycott the panchayat election saying Indian rulers have been using “election drama to negate Kashmiri demand for self-determination and freedom.”
“How can we vote for those rulers and their parties, who are hell-bent on installing RSS-fascism in J&K, who want to change the demography of this land, who have killed thousands of men and women and , who have snatched eyesight of thousands by pellets and caged thousands of young and old,” they said.
The separatist leaders claimed that elections and institutions formed by these elections are detrimental to the interests of Kashmiris.
“And as a living nation, we all should keep away from this farce and boycott these elections in totality.”
“The boycott of these elections will deliver a message that Kashmiris want freedom from Indian occupation, and we will accept nothing less than freedom and right to self-determination,” they said adding, “India and its ‘stooges’ repeatedly stage this election drama to hoodwink the international community”.
The Panchayat election, which was scheduled to be held in 2016, was delayed by over a year due to unrest in the valley after the killing of Hizb commander Burhan Wani in July last year.
The last Panchayat elections in the State were held in April-May 2011 with record voter turnout of 80 percent.