Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Kashmiri Pandits discouraged from contesting polls-King C Bharti

CALL IT official terrorism or intimidation of Kashmiri Pandits (KPs) but the fact is that government of J&K has been trying every method to discourage Kashmiri Pandits from contesting the coming Assembly elections through various means available with the government.
While the filing of fresh M-Forms and the cumbersome procedure of filing Form 12C to seek voting rights for general and other category of Migrant Kashmiri Pandits is nothing but a harassment tactic of the government the inaction over the request for security cover to its candidates by Jammu and Kashmir National United Front (JKNUF), the first ever political party of Kashmiri Pandits is a clear indication that government does not want KPs to participate in the democratic process.
It is worth mentioning here that the first batch of prospective candidates of JKNUF today left for Valley without security to file their nominations. Even though it is the history in the making the government does not seem to care a hoot.
The fact that all Kashmiri Pandits have been casting their votes in Jammu and elsewhere according to their electoral rolls earlier this time the state government has devised a cumbersome means to ensure as low a voter turnout as possible because Kashmiri Pandits have not only floated the first ever political party but also that many more KPs are contesting elections as independent candidates.
Even though JKNUF has been trying its level best to help Kashmiri Pandits to complete the formalities the over all procedure is too big to be handled for the newly floated party.
The leaders of JKNUF AK Dewani and Rakesh Handoo Bunty when contacted said that the whole process was to ensure minimum voter turnout of Pandits adding the pro-separatist government fears some unexpected results if KPs participate fully in the elections.
Dewani and Handoo however said that they were all set to frustrate the evil designs of the pro-separatist government which has now added yet another dirty feather in its cap by turning a Nelsons Eye towards their pleas of security and other things so that maximum number of KP voters can cast their ballot.
The government, which has been beating about the bush of having great concern for the KPs, has however ignored the KP candidates in proving suitable security cover equating them with other smaller parties who also seek security during the elections.
However the fact remains that while the government tries every stupid trick to woo terrorists and separatists in Kashmir the real victims of the terror, Kashmiri Pandits, do not seem to figure in their scheme of things for the resolution of the Kashmir problem.
The rebuff seems to be the answer of the Vohra regime to their wholehearted support to Shri Amarnath Yatra Sangarsh Samiti for which the entire community seems to be paying the price, says a young Pandit Samir Koul of Muthi migrant camp.
While Jammuites are already facing state terror through longest ever power cuts as a punishment for their two month long agitation it is time KP leaders face the brunt of brutality.
The government must wake up from its deep slumber and face the reality by recognizing Kashmiri Pandits as equal partners in the of state affairs lest they too produce the likes of Sadhvi Pragya to seek their rights in Kashmir, says another young KP migrant at Shankar building sifting through huge records to find his name in the electoral rolls.
Rakesh Handoo the prospective candidate from Hazratbal constituency said that Kashmiri Pandits too must understand that the government has been trying to divide them over the participation in polls as nobody wants them to be counted anywhere in the real democratic process and hence must shun the politics of boycott by participating in the elections fully so that they too get some attention of the political leaders who are seeking a mandate in Kashmir.
They must understand that some political parties have already started voicing their concern over the actual number of KP voters because a well designed plot is being hatched to keep KP voters at bay by adopting the policy of divide and rule.
Even if KPs get only a few hundred votes it will certainly make an impact over the prospective candidates of the Valley to start respecting their power even if small in volume, Handoo said.
Meanwhile the first delegation of prospective candidates of JKNUF today left for Valley by road to file nominations for various constituencies in Valley without any security.
The delegation, which left by road, was not, provided any help by the government notwithstanding the fact that participation of the first ever KP political party in the elections could have been used as a tool to rebuff the separatists that majority of the Kashmiri people are in favour of elections.
However according to Handoo repeated requests to Director General of Police Kuldeep Khoda and IGP Security have not been fruitful despite a recommendation from the Returning Officer of KPs in Jammu.
The police has been citing the tremendous demand of security form various parties but they seem to have forgotten that government has a duty towards KPs who are not only the real aborigines of Kashmir but also living in forced exile for the last 18 years due to the inept governments at sate and central level from time to time.
The delegation however left for the Valley indicating the resolve of KPs to contest elections under any circumstances to make their presence felt even if government denies them much needed security cover.
Those who left for the Valley to file their nominations on behalf of JKNUF mandate include Shadi Lal Kant (Langate), Pawan Kumar Raina ( Handwara) and Samir Raina (Kupwara).

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