Srinagar, Oct 13: During the third phase of ongoing ULB polls in the state on Saturday, a complete shutdown was observed in poll bound areas following the call given by Joint Hurriyat Leadership comprising Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik.
The trio had called for a complete shutdown in poll bound areas today to protest against the conduct of elections here.
All the shops, business establishments, petrol pumps remained closed in the poll bound areas including the commercial Hub Lal Chowk while as the traffic was also thin on the roads throughout the day.
Amid tight security arrangements, the third phase of ongoing four-phased ULB polls was conducted today.
According to the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), Shaleen Kabra, 222 polling booths in Kashmir were declared as hypersensitive. He on Friday evening said that Observers have been deployed, including micro-observers at these polling stations.
Earlier, the Director General of Police (DGP), Dilbagh Singh, as per local news agency KNS, said that adequate arrangements have been put in place for the third phase of ULB polls.
Ladakh Parliamentary Seat: Karbalai in fray to cut Muslim votes and benefit Congress?
Srinagar, Apr 25: Ahead of the elections for it, the Ladakh Parliamentary Seat is in the spotlight these days as Asgar Ali Karbalai, who is contesting as an Independent candidate, may play spoilsport for Sajjad Hussain who has support of the NC, PDP and powerful religious groups of Kargil.
Four candidates are in the fray for Ladakh parliamentary constituency that will go to polls on May 6.
The Bharatiya Janata Party has fielded Jamyang Tsering Namgyal, while Rigzin Spalbar is Congress’ candidate. Both the candidates are from Leh district. Sajjad Hussain, and Asgar Ali Karbalai are contesting as independents. Both are from Kargil district.
Asgar has claimed that he has left the Congress, however a source within the party said his contesting of elections is to “cut the Muslim vote in Ladakh to benefit the Congress candidate.”
“He has no support of any religious group unlike Sajjad. If he will be able to cut the Muslim vote, Congress will be the hugely benefitted,” the source said.
It said that PDP and NC decided not to field candidates as they would have divided the Muslim votes and would have benefitted the BJP.
The PDP and NC have decided to support journalist turned politician Sajjad in the parliamentary elections. He is the candidate of Anjuman Jamiatul Ulama Islamia School Kargil (AJUISK), the largest religious organisation of the region and also backed by Imam Khomeini Memorial Trust.
“Both National Conference and PDP have unanimously decided to support Sajjad, who has been fielded by Kargil’s powerful religious organization, Islamia School,” National Conference General Secretary Ali Mohammad Sagar, said.
Asked why the National Conference did not field its own candidate, Sagar replied, “We have several top leaders in Ladakh. But when powerful religious organizations decided to field the candidate, we decided to support him. All religious groups are on platform on his candidature. We hope that he would win the elections.”
Senior PDP leader Nizam-ud-Din Bhat too confirmed that NC and PDP have unanimously decided to support Independent candidate, Sajjad.
“We decided not to field our own candidate because this candidate has backing of two religious groups, and he represents the sentiments of people,” Bhat said.
In Kashmir, the PDP and NC have been fighting against each other as both parties have fielded their candidates against one another on all three parliamentary seats. The NC and Congress are jointly fighting the Srinagar, Jammu and Udhampur parliament seats while there is a “friendly” contest between their candidates for Baramulla and Anantnag seats.
In 2014 Thupstan Chhewang of Bharatiya Janata Party won with a margin of 36 votes. Chhewang secured 31,111 votes while Independent Ghulam Raza secured 31,075 votes. Chhewang last year resigned, citing ‘discrimination’ against Ladakh, as the reason.
Spread over Leh and Kargil districts and having four assembly segments including Kargil, Zanaskar, Nobra and Leh, Ladakh is geographically one of the largest and population-wise one of the smallest constituencies in the country. There are about 1.72 lakh eligible voters for the Ladakh seat.
NIA summon to Shabir Shah’s daughter shameful: Mehbooba
Srinagar, Apr 25: PDP president Mehbooba Mufti on Thursday termed National Investigation Agency (NIA) summon to Shabir Shah’s daughter as “shameful”.
Addressing a rally at Kulgam district in south Kashmir, the PDP president while condemning the issuance of ED summon to Sama Shabir, the daughter of Hurriyat leader Shabir Ahmed Shah said, “She has been summoned in connection with case of money laundering in 2007 when she was just five years old. The harassment has increased over the years.”
She said that Mirwaiz Umar Farooq was summoned by the NIA and Yaseen Mailk faced detention and constant harassment. “This shows the sheer desperation of centre,” she claimed.
She maintained, “The abrogation of Article 35-A and 370 will render the basis of accession null and void. Thus, we should strive towards safeguarding the special status.”
Mehbooba took jibes at the BJP president, Amit Shah over his statement that there is Modi wave in India.
“Had this been true, the Balakote airstrikes wouldn’t happen then? Incidents like mob lynching and oppression on the marginalized sections wouldn’t be so commonplace,” she said.
She said while taking potshots at the NC vice-president Omar Abdullah, “Omar is living in this delusion that the people in her home town Bijebhera in Anantnag district have rejected her and voted for NC. I want to make this thing clear that it’s my hometown and people are supportive of me and are still unknown to Omar.”
Ruling out that government employees participated in her Pulwama election rally, she said, “This is completely false. No government employees participated in that rally. I have nothing to do with these employees as I am not a part of the government.”
Farooq praises Malik: Says he’s ready to ‘sacrifice his life’ for Kashmir
Srinagar, Apr 25: National Conference President Farooq Abdullah on Thursday praised Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chief Yasin Malik for being ready to “sacrifice his life for the self-respect of Kashmiris”.
“Malik is languishing in jail because he stood his ground and intends to sacrifice his life for the dignity of Kashmiris, I congratulate him,” Farooq Abdullah said while addressing a public gathering at Qazigund in south Kashmir.
Referring to Hurriyat leadership and militant groups, Dr Farooq said, “People of all regions have to come together and tell them that boycott is never a solution. It has led to killings and bloodshed in the past and the cycle is bound to get repeated.”
He maintained, “Did these so called poll boycotts relieve you of your problems? Gun is never a solution but vote is the ideal way to resolve the problems of Kashmir.”
“Guns will never help us achieve anything. I can assure you that if Kashmiris unite and each of them has a gun in their hand, we will still feel helpless and unable to fight the country,” he said.
Farooq that those who are venturing out to destroy Art 370, Art 35-A are playing with fire, saying need of the hour is to douse the flames and not add fuel to fire.
Party president while addressing a public meet at Devsar Qazigund in south Kashmir said that Kashmiris are not slaves of any one. “History bears testimony to the fact that no one was able to enslave Kashmiris, we have fought Mughals, Pathans and other despotic regimes and never let anyone subdue us. New Delhi will only have our respect, if they respect the people of this state. No one should dare to tinker with our self-esteem for Kashmiris have always responded to the brickbats thrown at them with determination.”
Cautioning the people against forces as are inimical to state’s special status he said, “Today we see forces as have always been inimical to state’s status come in different hues and colors trying to destroy it. However Kashmiris, have never allowed such forces to succeed their nefarious designs; today the situation is no different. Today we see BJP-RSS cheekily taking vows to destroy the identity and integrity of our state.”
Farooq while referring to the Art 370, Art 35 A as the articles of faith for National Conference said, “The articles ensure the citizenry of our state certain unbridgeable rights in jobs, land holdings and scholarships; any move to scuttle the articles will have far reaching consequences on the people of the state. So it is imperative for the people across the state in particular the people of south Kashmir to vote. Every vote you cast will set the recourse of our state for next half a decade. This time you will be voting for securing your identity which is facing unbridled attacks from all sides. Keeping in view the challenges faced by our state, our party made a decision of fielding Hassnain Masoodi from Anantnag constituency; it was a well thought decision intended to send a representative voice to parliament that can fight for our status.”
Party president said that it is only through the use of ballot that the people of Kashmir can recoup themselves from the unbridled miseries. “The solution to problems shall not come from the muzzle of gun or through stone throwing. It is only through the use of vote that the people of Kashmir can find a way forward. Gun culture have only added to the miseries of people and made us susceptible to the machinations of those who are inimical to our identity. People have to forge unity and come in large numbers to vote in order to save the identity, integrity, pluralistic visage and special constitutional status of our state.
Party president while asking the people to rally-round the party flag, said, “National Conference has always been a sore in the eye of those who want to enslave the people of our state. Our flag is an incessant irritant to those who are formulating schemes to destroy our identity, because they know that the flag of National Conference is the expression of prized individuality of every Kashmir. Today the people of Kashmir have understood that NC can rescue them to safe shores, and unleash an era of prosperity, development in the state. People remember our good work in terms of land to tiller, single line administration, poverty reduction. People also remember the torments that PDP unleashed on them by clubbing with BJP-RSS. They undeniably are yearning for peace now. We will leave no stone unturned to make amends to the wrongs committed by them.”
While flaying PDP for surrendering state’s fiscal autonomy, he said, “In 1996 when I took over as the Chief Minister of the state, lots of sales tax amount was over due to people. But the situation was such that the people were not in a condition to pay back their over dues. Sensing the appalling financial condition of the people, I waived off some amount and doled out well thought-out policy where in people were told to pay back the sales tax over due in the twenty years’ time. We had also provided free ration for six months to the people post 2014 floods. But now we cannot imagine easing the burden off people’s shoulders; all thanks to PDP government who took no time to implement GST and NFSA in our state. Now if the state government wants to do something on those lines, it has to get permission from the centre. This is what PDP has done. Whatever was left of our autonomy, they shamelessly surrendered it before the centre for the sake of chair and power.”
While flaying PDP for its colossal betrayal of public trust, he said, “In a first we made an outreach and offered unconditional support to Late Mufti sahib in order to keep BJP out of the power corridors. However our earnest offer was turned down by PDP. What followed is history. What good was achieved by our government until 2014 was put into an abyss. The explicit memories of the people are still afresh with the miseries which were inflicted by BJP-PDP on the citizenry of our state.”
“People are seeking answers as to what happened to the promises which were made by PDP and Mufti’s during their election campaign in 2014. The undertaking of PDP and its leadership turned out to be a damp squib. The past few years saw no accomplishments vis-à-vis employment generation, reduction of forces, return of power projects. Our state saw numerous onslaughts from all sides.”