Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir People's Movement will not contest the upcoming parliamentary elections, its leader and former IAS officer Shah Faesal announced on Saturday.
However, he made it clear that the party will contest the legislative elections whenever they are conducted.
"We are a newly formed party. The Jammu and Kashmir People's Movement is no longer just about Shah Faesal. After having discussions in the core committee, we decided not to contest the upcoming parliamentary polls," Faesal said while addressing a press conference in Srinagar.
Stating the reasons behind this decision, he said, "First, that we are a newly formed party. Our focus is on people-to-people contact. Second, through this step, we want to reply to those people who were saying that this party has been brought by the Centre to increase electoral participation and manipulate the votes."
Faesal claimed that his party is not eyeing elections or power. "The Jammu and Kashmir People's Movement is here to fight for a long time. We are here to restore the political and developmental rights of the people here and we are ready to wait for that," he said.
"We will decide soon which party our cadres should support (in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections)," he added.
On being asked about Legislative Assembly elections, he said, "Legislative elections are critical for us. Our special status is under attack. We will contest those elections whenever they will be held."
Faesal also criticised "custodial killing" of a teacher in police custody last week and demanded the arrest of officers responsible for it. "We know a magisterial inquiry is going on. We believe that only a judicial inquiry can take it to the (right) conclusion," he said.
He also condemned the death of a 12-year-old boy who was held hostage by militants and killed during an encounter in Hajin on Friday, urging "both competent (security forces and terrorists)" to refrain from human rights violations.
Terming the Central government's recently imposed ban on Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) as anti-democracy, he said, "This will further shrink the democratic space here."
Faesal appreciated New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern for her handling of the situation in the aftermath of Christchurch attack.
"We believe the kind of leadership she (Jacinda Ardern) had shown is an example for the leaders of South Asian region. We hope that leaders of our nation, our neighbouring nations and South Asian regions will take similar steps to ensure the protection of minorities," he said.
Your guide to the latest election news, analysis, commentary, live updates and schedule for Lok Sabha Elections 2019 on firstpost.com/elections. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram or like our Facebook page for updates from all 543 constituencies for the upcoming general elections.
Updated Date: Mar 23, 2019 20:24:16 IST