Saturday, November 22, 2008

Indian-controlled Kashmir: Between Election Chorus and Poll Boycott

Kashmir Watch, November 22, 2008

Despite overwhelming boycott India manages to show long queues of people waiting for their turn to cast vote through its biased print and electronic media and sells this to outside world by its strong propaganda mill. The pro-freedom rallies witnessed during the last few months in which millions of people participated willingly is a clear referendum in favour of the birth and inalienable right of self- determination.

By Shah Waseem Yousuf

The first phase of election is over, though it witnessed brisk turnout of 64% as claimed by Election Commission. The state-runned ‘Kashir’ channel in its post election report regarding this first phase was quick to claim that this voter turnout was a clear verdict of people between separatism and development. Though majority of voters voted only for developmental related issues and not for any particular ideology as was reported by media. All the major big guns of “mainstream” camp played safe by de-linking elections from Kashmir dispute apart from Mufti Sayed who in his few speeches had said that he will solve Kashmir dispute if he comes to power.

Is the claim of report by ‘Kashir’ channel based on facts and has Mufti Sayed or any other “mainstream” leader mandate for resolving this lingering dispute. The answer is big ‘NO’. What they call Separatism and development are entirely different aspects and there can’t be made tussle between these two. It has been clearly laid down in 1957 UN Security council resolution that the “Administration of Jammu and Kashmir cannot take any decision which may change the status of territory of Jammu and Kashmir”. Its powers are restricted only for developmental works and have no powers more than that of Municipal Corporation. How can so called elected representatives claim that they will solve Kashmir dispute? When they have no mandate for this at all. So elections have no effect and bearing on the future status of Kashmir and hence can’t be substitute to right of self determination this point has even acknowledged by Nehru as well. So the argument of India recently in UN that by participating in elections people of JK have exercised their right of self determination looses ground. Furthermore present JK is under three administrations one at Srinagar second at Muzaffarabad and third at Gilgit, Baltistan and if for the sake of argument this Indian view point about elections is accepted how can be elections in only one administration be construed as exercise of right of self determination by the people of entire JK.

In the first phase although about minimum allegations of coercion have been reported but in the words of famous human rights’ activist Ms. Arundati Roy presence of 700, 000 troops is in itself a coercion and when the voice of dissent is silenced by putting almost entire top pro-freedom leadership behind bars and others have been under house arrest and newspapers barred to publish statements of these leaders about elections through written orders. Pro-freedom leadership rather than usual calls of boycott should evolve new methodology and strategy and educate people about the real status of elections and limitations of these “mainstream” leaders because as seen in the past despite overwhelming boycott India manages to show long queues of people waiting for their turn to cast vote through its biased print and electronic media and sells this to outside world by its strong propaganda mill. The pro-freedom rallies witnessed during the last few months in which millions of people participated willingly is a clear referendum in favour of the birth and inalienable right of self determination. It is only for India to fathom the ground reality.

The author can be reached at:
waseemyousuf72@gmail.com,
www.unitedkashmir.co.cc

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