Kashmiri separatists call for boycott of panchayat and municipal polls, say Centre doesn't believe in empowering people

A statement in this regard was issued after a meeting of the so-called Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) comprising separatists Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Mohammad Yasin Malik at Geelani's residence in Hyderpora.

Press Trust of India September 03, 2018 20:38:35 IST
Kashmiri separatists call for boycott of panchayat and municipal polls, say Centre doesn't believe in empowering people

Srinagar: Separatists in Kashmir on Monday called for a boycott of panchayat and urban local bodies polls scheduled to be held from October.

A statement in this regard was issued after a meeting of the so-called Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) comprising separatists Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Mohammad Yasin Malik at Geelani's residence in Hyderpora.

It alleged that the Centre wants to “thrust and enforce” panchayat and municipal elections upon the people of Kashmir and that "New Delhi has never believed in empowering the people of Jammu and Kashmir or the institutions here".

Kashmiri separatists call for boycott of panchayat and municipal polls say Centre doesnt believe in empowering people

File image of separatist leaders Yasin Malik, Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq. AFP

Elections have "only been a means" to further strengthen "New Delhi's hold on Jammu and Kashmir", the statement alleged.

Despite similar boycott calls by separatists, Jammu and Kashmir registered its highest voter turn-out in 2014 Assembly elections in the last 25 years with an estimated 65 percent of electorate casting their votes.

The last panchayat elections in the state were held in April-May 2011 with a record voter turnout of 80 percent.

The panchayat elections were scheduled to be held in 2016 but were put off due to unrest in the Valley after the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani.

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