Shehla Rashid quits electoral politics

Former university student leader says she cannot legitimise suppression of Kashmiris

Former Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union vice-president Shehla Rashid, who made her foray into mainstream politics six months ago, announced on Wednesday that she was quitting electoral politics in Kashmir.

The announcement of the Block Development Council elections in Jammu and Kashmir despite ongoing lockdown on millions of citizens for over two months prompted the decision, Ms. Rashid said, adding: “I cannot be a party to the exercise of legitimising the suppression of people”.

“Even as people are deprived of the means to call an ambulance and other emergency services, the Centre is soon going to hold elections to the Block Development Councils, in an attempt to showcase ‘normalcy’ to the outside world. In such a situation, I consider it my moral responsibility to speak up and clarify my stance on the electoral process and the way forward,” she said in a statement.

Ms. Rashid said she joined politics as she believed that it was possible to deliver both justice as well as good governance, and also work for the resolution of the Kashmir issue as per the wishes of the people of Jammu and Kashmir and that this would have been possible if “the government respected the rule of law”.

“In view of mounting international pressure on the Indian government to end the siege in Kashmir, the Centre now wants to showcase a sham electoral exercise in order to convince the world that it is still a democracy. However, what is underway is not democracy, but the murder of democracy,” Ms. Rashid said in her statement.

She futher alleged that the Centre was planning to instal puppet leaders.

‘Stand in solidarity’

“I would, therefore, like to make clear my dissociation with the electoral mainstream in Kashmir. I stand in solidarity with my people who are being made to suffer for the most basic of amenities and being deprived of the most basic of rights. I cannot be party to the exercise of legitimising the brutal suppression of my people,” Mr. Rashid said.

“I will continue to be an activist and raise my voice against injustice on all fronts that do not require a compromise and I will continue to put my energy behind the Supreme Court petition seeking the restoration of special status of the State, and the reversal of bifurcation of the State,” she said in her statement.

Ms. Rashid has joined the Jammu and Kashmir People’s Movement, which has been floated by former Indian Administrative Service officer Shah Faisal.

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Printable version | May 31, 2020 11:43:55 AM |

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