National Conference (NC) president Dr. Farooq Abdullah, who chaired an all-party meeting in Jammu on Saturday, opposed any move to grant voting rights to outsiders in J&K and added that “rights of people of J&K are under attack”.
“There was a consensus among all the parties that the onslaught needs to be stopped, especially the move to grant voting rights to outsiders in J&K. This was unacceptable to all the parties, which attended the meeting here,” Dr. Abdullah said.
New laws are being introduced in J&K day-in and day-out; “Our rights are under attack,” he added.
The all-party meeting was attended by the members of the Gupkar Alliance, including Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti and Awami National Conference head Muzaffar Shah.
Besides the Alliance leaders, Congress State president Vaqar Rasool, Dogra Swabhiman Sangathan Party chairman Lal Singh, leaders of the Akali Dal, Shiv Sena (Bal Thackery) and Mission Statehood also participated in the meeting.
Mission Statehood president Sunil Dimple demanded that the voting rights should be granted only to State Subject (locals) holders of J&K.
Mr. Rasool also sympathised with the cause but clarified that the party has not formally joined the Gupkar Alliance. “We attend any meeting organised by secular parties with a common agenda. The issue of inclusion of 25 lakh (voters) has baffled us. We want clarification from the chief electoral office. No clarification has been issued yet,” he said.
Earlier, only State Subjects, those who have been living in J&K since 1929, were allowed to register as voters. However, after the Centre ended J&K’s special constitutional position in 2019, outsiders can now register as voters in the Union Territory.
J&K Chief Electoral Officer Hirdesh Kumar last month said many people who were not enlisted as voters in the erstwhile State of J&K are now eligible to vote, after the abrogation of provisions of Article 370 in 2019.
“Anyone who is living ordinarily can also avail the opportunity to get enlisted as a voter in J&K in accordance with the provisions of representation of the Peoples Act,” CEO Kumar said.