Hurriyat, JKLF call for poll boycott
24 September 2004
The Daily Excelsior
Srinagar: As the by-elections to four Assembly seats in the State drew close, both factions of Hurriyat Conference and Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front today appealed people to boycott the polls saying elections were no solution to the long-standing Kashmir problem. Rejecting elections as 'meaningless' and no solution to Kashmir issue, Hurriyat Conference led by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq asked people to stay away from the by-elections being held in Pahalgam and Batmaloo in Kashmir region and Akhnoor and Basohli in Jammu region on October 13. 'Elections can neither help restore peace nor could these fulfil the dream of development in the state unless the Kashmir issue is resolved to the satisfaction of its people,' the moderate faction of Hurriyat Conference said in a statement. Kicking off its anti- election campaign, chairman of breakaway faction of Hurriyat Syed Ali Shah Geelani and another senior leader of the separatist amalgam Mohammad Yousuf Mir addressed separate meetings in Pahalgam urging people to boycott the polls. JKLF chairman Mohammad Yaseen Malik addressed a series of public meetings in Pahalgam asking people to remain indoors on the poll day. 'Jammu and Kashmir Assembly is representing the Indian interests and no Kashmiri will participate in its elections,' Malik accompanied by half-a-dozen senior party leaders said. Meanwhile a team of Hurriyat leader comprising eight of them of the hardline faction were detained by police at Sangam in Anantnag district of south Kashmir when they were on way to Pahalgam for poll-boycott campaign, official sources said. Condemning the police action, a spokesman of the Hurriyat Conference said Mufti Mohammad Sayeed led coalition Government has accepted defeat by detaining the Hurriyat leaders on the very first day of the campaign. 'These people are scared of the popularity of Hurriyat Conference and they are aware that if the Hurriyat leaders are given chance to meet people, the voters will not turn up...', the spokesman said. The Hurriyat leaders including Hakeem Abdul Rashid and Ghulam Mohammad Khan Sopori were detained by Awantipora police as a precautionary measure, the sources said.