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Separatists in Kashmir call for boycott of panchayat polls

Srinagar: Separatist leaders in Kashmir have called for a boycott of the upcoming panchayat polls in the state, as the authorities on Thursday clamped down on its top leadership in Srinagar.

“Any sort of election under the Indian occupational system, be it for so-called Assembly, Parliament, municipal committee or panchayat, is meant only to harm the interests of Kashmiris. The Indian rulers have been using this election drama to negate Kashmiris’ demand for self-determination and freedom,” said a statement issued by the Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL), comprising Tehreek-e-Hurriyat chairman Syed Ali Geelani, All Parties Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and JKLF chief Muhammad Yasin Malik.

Appealing for “a complete and comprehensive boycott of the panchayat elections”, they said, “By an exemplary boycott of these elections, Kashmiris will deliver a message to India and to the international community that Kashmiris want freedom.”

The government recently announced to held panchayat polls in February next year.

The authorities on Thursday put the Mirwaiz under house arrest in Srinagar.

“Thousands of people were waiting to listen to the traditional sermon at the revered shrine of Dastigeer Sahib in Srinagar. The government’s decision is authoritarian. The regime is attempting to play with the religious sentiments of the people,” alleged the Mirwaiz.

The government also disallowed a meeting called by Mr. Geelani in Srinagar. “The curbs are unjustified and unconstitutional,” said Mr. Geelani.

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Printable version | Jun 3, 2020 2:19:55 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/separatists-in-kashmir-call-for-boycott-of-panchayat-polls/article22320174.ece

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