Put off polls in Kashmir: Jethmalani committee
7 August 2002
The Indian Express
New Delhi: The Kashmir committee headed by former law minister Ram Jethmalani on Wednesday demanded postponement of Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir saying the killing of Amarnath pilgrims showed that the conditions in the state were not ''ripe'' for holding free and fair polls. It also demanded that for holding free and fair elections in the state it was essential that Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah should resign and pave the way for imposition of President''s Rule. While condemning the militant attack on pilgrims as ''inhuman and beastly'', Jethmalani told reporters that ''this itself should persuade the Election Commission that conditions have not become absolutely right for holding of elections''. ''If the EC on its own postpones the elections, it will meet a major objection of many elements whose participation would be vital for the future of the state,'' he said emerging from a meeting attended by Times of India’s Dilip Padgaonkar, former diplomat V.K. Grover and others members. Padgaonkar said he had contacted Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chairman Ammanullah Khan through e-mail for a meeting between him and the committee. Khan is now based in Rawalpindi. The committee said it would wait for the formal intimation from the JKLF chairman and would then fix the place and time for the meeting.