Had warned Election Commission of India against holding byelections : Mehboba Mufti

Says commission was cautioned about violence, low voter turnout

Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti today said the state government had warned the Election Commission of India that the situation in the Valley was not conducive to holding by elections to the Srinagar and Anantnag parliamentary seats.
The CM said she had warned the ECI of possible violence and low turnout in the elections. “We had informed the ECI that situation in Kashmir was not conducive to holding by elections as wounds of the deaths occurred last were still fresh and people were not mentally prepared to participate in the electioneering process. We also informed the ECI that we shouldn’t give a chance to the other side (separatists) to cash in on these elections,” Mehbooba said while speaking during an official function at the Zorawar Singh auditorium here today.
“I had warned the ECI of violence and low voter turnout in these elections, and both things happened,” the Chief Minister said, adding that “the ECI still decided to hold elections as they know better than us”.
In the violence during the Srinagar parliamentary byelection, eight protesters were killed and several others injured. The ECI deferred the byelection to the Anantnag Lok Sabha seat, scheduled for April 12, on considering the ground situation and the PDP candidate Tassaduq Mufti’ request, which was endorsed by the coalition government.
Commenting on the situation in the Kashmir valley, the Chief Minister said: “For four months we tried our best to bring the situation under control but now it has again deteriorated, which will have a negative impact on the developmental activities all across the state. All of our focus will go back to bringing the situation under control and we will not be able to concentrate on development.”
She once again thanked the people of Jammu for maintaining peace in the region and not falling prey to the provocations and volatile situation in Kashmir.
Meanwhile, talking to media persons after the function, the Chief Minister termed Farooq Abdullah as a confused person. “Earlier, he glorified stone-throwers by terming them nationalists and now he is blaming the government for paying stone-throwers,” she said.
NC chief is ‘confused’
I feel Farooq Abdullah is confused. Earlier, he glorified stone-throwers by terming them nationalists and now he is blaming the government for paying stone-throwers. —Mehbooba Mufti, Chief Minister

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