Other States

Opposition candidates not allowed to campaign, Farooq Abdulah tells SEC

National Conference President Dr Farooq Abdullah. File   | Photo Credit: NISSAR AHMAD

National Conference (NC) president and Peoples Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) chairman Farooq Abdullah on Saturday approached the State Election Commission (SEC) and alleged that opposition candidates contesting the District Development Council (DDC) polls were being disallowed to campaign.

“Security cannot and should not be used as a tool or an excuse to interfere in democratic processes. It is a desecration of the sacrifices [made in Kashmir] when the very conflict that consumed their lives is used as an alibi to customise democracy,” Dr. Abdullah wrote in a letter to SEC Commissioner K.K Sharma.

He alleged that candidates put up by the PAGD, comprising seven political parties including the NC and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), were immediately whisked away to “secure locations in the name of security and confined.”

“They are not allowed to canvas, they are completely out of touch with those from whom they are supposed to seek votes. The current state of affairs in the realm of security is blatantly oriented towards providing security to a select few and confining others,” Dr. Abdullah said.

Jammu and Kashmir is witnessing maiden DDC polls and by-polls for panchayat and urban bodies from November 28.

PDP president Mehbooba Mufti has also accused the police of detaining candidates fielded by the party.

“The Government of India is sabotaging participation of non-BJP parties in DDC polls. PDP’s Bashir Ahmed, despite having adequate security, has been detained at Pahalgam on the pretext of security. Today is the last day for filing nominations and have spoken to the Deputy Commissioner, Anantnag, for his release,” Ms. Mufti said.

Ms. Mufti said another party leader Rouf Bhat was summoned to the police station and asked to report every day and ensure he stays from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. till the Srinagar Municipal Corporation elections are over. “Is this going to be the new norm for elections in J&K?” she asked.

However, the police described Bhat as “a released militant.” “Bhat was called for updating of his personal profile, as he was associated with the Hizbul Mujahideen,” the police said.

‘Candidates harassed’

Peoples Conference chairman and PADG spokesperson Sajad Gani Lone also accused the government machinery of harassment of candidates,

“Security is being used as a pretext to impede electioneering. Pre-determining democracy, undermining democracy can have disastrous consequences. We, our children are here to stay. Visitors deputed as administrators better not sow a poison whose venom will be spread over decades,” he said.

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Printable version | Jan 17, 2021 10:50:04 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/farooq-abdullah-flags-issue-of-selective-security-measures-for-candidates-fighting-local-polls/article33149078.ece

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