Join Polls? No Way: Azadi Camp Tells Baig

Join Polls? No Way: Azadi Camp Tells Baig

19 October 2012
Kashmir Observer
Javaid Lone

Srinagar: Kashmir’s separatists on Thursday had just two words for senior PDP leader Muzaffar Hussain Baig’s advice to join the electoral process and raise issues in the assembly and the parliament – No Way. “We won’t participate in elections until India holds a referendum here,” the Hurriyat (G) chairman, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, told the Kashmir Observer. “J&K is a disputed territory and participating in elections is illegitimate for us.” “People should boycott every election. People who want freedom should not join elections,” he said. According to Geelani, all mainstream parties were the same. “Whatever the present National Conference-led government is doing here, the same was done by the PDP-Congress coalition,” he said. The Democratic Freedom Party (DFP) supremo, Shabir Shah, said any political process in Kashmir under the Indian constitution was a farce. “We are fighting a political war with India. So, joining in elections is not possible for us,” he said. “Let India go for a referendum here.” Claiming that Baig had once been associated with the freedom movement in Kashmir, Shah said that the former deputy chief minister could keep his advice about elections to himself. “Baig Sahib has his own thinking, we have our own,” he said. The National Front chairman, Nayeem Khan, said India had always interpreted elections in Kashmir as a referendum for itself. “India is deceiving the international community with elections in Kashmir, as was done by S M Krishna recently at the UN,” he said. “It should be an eye-opener for Mr Baig and others who think that we should participate in elections.” “Kashmiris will continue to boycott the so-called democratic process until India holds a referendum here. If East Timor, South Sudan and now Scotland were given a referendum, why not us?” he said. Shahid-ul-Islam, the media advisor to the Hurriyat (M) chairmain, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, said that his faction had its own stand on Kashmir and stood by its commitment. “Participating in elections is neither on our agenda nor in our constitution,” he said. “We don't need anybody’s advice on this.” Mahaz-e-Azadi leader Azam Inquilabi, however, had a grievance with all mainstream parties. “If at all they (mainstream parties) have any patriotic sentiment, why do they not provide any relief to the people?” he said. “We have in principle rejected any electoral process held under the Indian constitution here,” he said. In an exclusive interview to Kashmir Observer, Baig had said that the Hurriyat Conference should also participate in the political process and discuss whatever issues it had in the assembly or the parliament “instead of pushing youth into the fire of destruction.” “Get the mandate of people and go to the relevant platform,” he had said. “Since its inception, the PDP has been of the opinion that the separatists should participate in the elections,” he had said.