Indo-Pak Affairs

Polls under gun setback for liberation leaders: Sajjad

SRINAGAR: Peoples Conference chairman Sajjad Gani Lone has described the recent polling held “under Indian gun” as “setback to pro-freedom leaders” but warned that it should not be construed as defeat of freedom struggle and people of Kashmir shouldn’t be targeted for participating in the poll process.

“We are not preaching defeatism here; we are speaking from a place of confidence. We are a capable nation and we certainly rise above our present shortfalls. If there is a setback we will have to reverse the setback and do what it takes to reverse the setback,” Sajjad said addressing media persons at his residence here.

Sajjad launched scathing attack on the leaders and the intellectuals who argue that people in Kashmir are unpredictable and said people of Kashmir have rendered exemplary sacrifices and have followed the programs of the resistance leadership for last 20 years.

“They (people) have gone above and beyond in every respect. If a significant number of people have dissented in this case-it highlights the need for introspection. Rather than accusing people we need to sit together and examine what are the causes of dissent,” he said.
Citing massive militarization, crackdowns, and arrests Sajjad said election turnout figures need to be evaluated in the context of an uneven playfield. Democracy, he said, was a holistic concept and not a partial concept. He said the government has shown a selective acceptance of democracy.

“The political leaders pursuing the boycott call were jailed or put under house arrest, undeclared curfew, thwarting peaceful marches and the armed siege of Kashmir has eroded the credibility of the voting percentage,” he said.

He said the poll process achieved through these means should not be construed as defeat of freedom struggle in Kashmir. “The separatists and separatism are two different concepts. And the separatism from India as an ideology runs deep in every Kashmir and no poll process could defeat it,” he said. He said in this poll process the militant gun stayed way but the “Indian gun” remained predominant in the process that is being portrayed as “political battle.”-SANa

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Noreen Gill

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