Srinagar, Apr 04: Former Chief Minister, Farooq Abdullah on Wednesday described present situation of Kashmir as “worst” and said if Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has some wisdom the party should leave the government.
“If the situation continues to remain the same people from every area of the Valley would be ready to give martyrdom”, Abdullah said while talking to reporters at the SKICC here.
Kashmir Valley observed complete strike today on the call of separatists. The separatists were planning to march to Shopian to address a rally to protest against killings of civilians and the militants by the armed forces. However, the police detained separatist leaders Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Syed Ali Geelani, Muhammad Yasin Malik and didn’t allow the march.
“If we have to get out from this situation, it is necessary to find a solution of Kashmir as soon as possible”, Dr Abdullah said. “It is necessary to have talks with Pakistan. If you don’t talk to Pakistan no solution will come up”, Abdullah said.
He said that due to the present state of affairs in the country, people in Kashmir see their future dark. But at the same time, he said, Kashmiris have to think as Pakistan or independence is not their future. “We had an autonomy that was granted to us. That autonomy should be restored to us so that honour is restored”, Abdullah said.
“Just playing tricks with it (autonomy) will not help,” Abdullah said. “They have to get to the basic root (of the issue)”, he said adding that Azadi or Pakistan was not a way for Kashmiris. “Had these ideas been good for Kashmiris, I would have said long ago they are good. But they are not.”
“Four wars have taken place between India and Pakistan. Has anything changed”, he asked. He said people should choose the road, which would save their lives.
About the PDP and BJP government having opposite stance on the issue of having talks with Pakistan, Abdullah said the PDP should have resigned from the government. “If they have any wisdom they should leave the government. But they will not as they are in love with the power and the chair.” “They say a lot but they do nothing. For four years they are saying that the talks will be initiated. I ask where those talks are. They have forgotten everything”, Abdullah said. He said the killings must in Kashmir.
Meanwhile, moderate Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq Wednesday said Kashmir is no one’s integral part. “It only belongs to its people”, he said.
Mirwaiz, before being detained by the police, told reporters outside his residence that status quo on Kashmir is pushing educated youth to pick up arms and New Delhi was responsible for it. He said no amount of force will break the resolve of Kashmiri people to achieve their aim. Mirwaiz held pro mainstream political parties responsible for the current situation saying their lust for power made them repeatedly compromise with the interests of Kashmiris.
Senior separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani was barred from moving out from his house. The separatists had planned to march Shopian to offer condolences to the families of civilians and militants who were killed in the Sunday night operation. They were also planning to hold a rally in the district.
Bijbehara: 40 polling booths with zero votes
Bijbehara, Apr 23: Home turf of former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti, the Bijbehara assembly segment under the Anantnag Lok Sabha seat, reported highest concentration of polling stations where zero votes were cast.
Among the 65 booths in Anantnag where zero votes were cast, 40 were located in Bijbehara, one of the six assembly constituencies where voting took place in the third phase of the Lok Sabha elections Tuesday.
People cast their votes in 714 polling stations in Anantnag. Bijbehara, the home constituency of PDP president Mufti, had 120 polling booths set up for a population of 93,289 people.
A total of 1,893 electorate or 2 per cent exercised their franchise when the polling ended at 4 pm. The voting time for the Anantnag Lok Sabha seat was reduced in view of security considerations. The Baramulla Lok Sabha seat, where voting took place in the first phase, saw 17 polling stations with zero while the Srinagar Parliamentary seat, which went to polls in the second phase, recorded zero votes in 90 booths.
Polling in Anantnag, which has 16 assembly seats, has been divided into three phases. The first phase was completed on Tuesday while remaining two will be held on April 29 and May 6. The decision for staggered polling was taken keeping in view the security situation in South Kashmir which has seen many encounters between security forces and militants.
On February 14, over 40 CRPF personnel were killed in a miliant attack in South Kashmir’s Pulwama district.
Clubbing of booths kept voters away
Srinagar, Apr 23: The clubbing of the polling booths in Anantnag Lok Sabha constituency Tuesday discouraged many voters, who preferred to stay at home rather than walking long distances to cast their votes.
District Anantnag, which went for polls first in the three-phased schedule Tuesday, recorded 13.63 voter turnouts in six segments including Anantnag, Dooru, Kokernag, Shangus, Bijbehara and Pahalgam.
Scores of the voters said that many gave up their plans to cast vote after authorities announced clubbing of the polling booths in the constituency.
In Lisser Chawalgam village of Kokernag segment, at least three polling stations catering to different locations were accommodated in a local higher secondary school.
It included polling station of Shalnaad village as well, which is at least three kilometers away from the station.
Those who casted their votes claimed that they had to enter secretly into the booth as the area had witnessed stone pelting.
“More people could have come to vote if the locations of the polling booths were not changed at the last moment. Many women didn’t cast their votes as they too had to travel kilometres to reach to the polling station,” said a voter, who had come from Shalnaad to cast his vote at higher secondary school Lisser.
Similarly polling booths in rural areas of Anantnag, Pahalgam too were clubbed, which reportedly affected the voting percentage of these areas.
“South Kashmir usually witnesses low voting percentage. The change in the location of polling booths has further the participation,” said a polling officer.
National Conference Candidate for Anantnag, Retired Justice Hasnain Masoodi, told The Kashmir Monitor that the clubbing of the polling booth was the main reason behind the low voting percentage in many areas.
“The polling booths of Jeshnaad and Makawora have been accommodated in government buildings, which are five to eight kilometers away from these villages. It has made the entire voting exercise inconvenient for the people,” he said.
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) earlier also said that clubbing of the polling stations for Parliament elections in Jammu and Kashmir will affect the participation of people in the elections.
Security bandobast not up to the mark: Mir
Srinagar, Apr 23: The Congress Candidate from Anantnag Parliamentary Constituency Ghulam Ahmad Mir Tuesday conveyed his gratitude to voters for participating in polling in Anantnag and hoped that the people of other districts will follow suit.
Mir, in a statement, also expressed serious concern over the lack of security arrangements in Anantnag, saying that “the fool-proof security as was assured by the ECI were not visible on the ground, describing it as a lack of concern on the part of ECI.”
“I express my gratitude to voters for participating in polling in Anantnag,” he said saying that he was pleased to observe that the day has passed incident free.
Taking a jibe at ECI for lack of security arrangements in the district during polling, Mir said the required security arrangements were not seen on the ground in the Anantnag.
“The assurances of ECI with regard to fool-proof security arrangements have fallen flat, which was a matter of serious concern and should not be repeated in coming phases in South Kashmir,” he said.
Mir urged upon the ECI to look into the security aspect of south Kashmir and ensure that fool-proof security arrangements are put in place to ensure free, fair and incident-free elections.
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