Parliament Elections in Kashmir
Muhammad Farooq Rehmani
As learnt by experience, it is the considered opinion of the Kashmiris that election whether for the local assembly or the Indian Parliament is never a solution to the Kashmir dispute. As per the track record the law making bodies of Jammu and Kashmir and India never did address the root cause of tension in the disputed region. The track-II diplomacy also failed to change the intransigent stance of India on Kashmir. Therefore we believe that the so called electoral process by India and Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) cannot be free, fair and impartial for a variety of reasons:-
Election for Lok Sabha in Jammu and Kashmir is a mere drama that has nothing to do with democracy, rule of law or autonomy. India wants to show to the world that the Kashmiris are with the Union. Candidates for Lok Sabah have to swear an oath of loyalty to the constitution of India. Thereafter, one cannot question the so called accession of Kashmir with India. The Indian occupied part of Kashmir is occupied by over 600, 0000 Indian troops and paramilitaries. They rule the roost and have been committing heinous human rights abuses against Kashmiris for the last 2 decades. The J&K Disturbed Areas Act, Armed Forces Special Powers Act, Public Safety Act etc in the shape of sharp weapons in the hands of military and police authorities suppress the genuine voice of the people of Kashmir. Army and police easily take recourse to harsh measures such as curfew and crackdowns to force the civil society to take part in elections. A false and fake vote turn out is publicized after strangulating the free press opinion. Indian and state governments have been managing a sham and rigged polling since 1951. Even nomination of members for the interim parliament of 1949 and first, second and third parliaments of India from Kashmir did not match the international standard.
The first election to the Lok Sabha from Kashmir in 1967 was also rigged.In every election of the Lok Sabha Indian guns forced Kashmiri voters to ballot boxes and were marked by rigging and military and police intervention, that was admitted and reported by world news papers like, The Times, Washington Post, Statesman etc.
Hence, such exercise again would be an abuse of the political process and surely constitute a grave violation of human rights. Therefore, as Kashmiris we would like to stress upon UN intervention, conflict resolution by withdrawal of draconian laws and Indian troops, to give the inhabitants of the Kashmir an opportunity to participate in a peaceful manner of resolution through referendum, rather than sham and farce elections. We also want to convey to the world community that the Lok Sabha elections in Kashmir under Indian guns would not mean a resolution of Kashmir and cannot bring durable peace in this populous part of the region. War against terror should not mean war against justice in Kashmir and the rights of Kashmiris. Indeed, the inalienable rights of Kashmiris were recognized by the world body as early as 1948. Kashmiris stand for ideal peace and support the United Nations charter and manifesto to that end.