The Joint Resistance Leaders (JRL) of Syed Ali Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq on Wednesday asked people to observe a complete shutdown across Jammu and Kashmir on October 8 to protest the commencement of Urban Local Bodies (ULB) and Panchayat election “drama being foisted upon them”.
“Besides, people are urged to observe subsequent protest shutdown in their own respective areas as per the poll schedule on October 10, 13, and 16 respectively and show their complete disassociation and resentment against it,” Geelani and Mirwaiz said in a joint statement.
“As additional forces are being brought in to J&K for the conduct of this election drama, it is clear that this farce is another attempt at coercion and the rulers want to shove it down peoples’ throats by force with the backing of lakhs and lakhs of military forces stationed here and through sections of police force,” they said.
The statement said: “This electoral drama is another form of subjugation. It conveys that even if entire people of Kashmir are against it and even if pro-India regional parties boycott it, the government of India is the command and control in Kashmir and has the power and force to conduct these without caring about its credibility or effectiveness. What bigger mockery and irony can there be than that in this so called democratic exercise even the identity of candidates who are supposed to represent public will not be known to the people whom they will represent!”
“As part of Doval doctrine followed by New Delhi, forcing this exercise on people is one more way of making them (people of Kashmir) pay the price and to break their resolve for standing up against the state for their fundamental right. As per Doval, people cannot sustain resistance beyond a point, so keep the pressure on them by hurling one assault after another, till they break down. So right after the 35A assault this bogey was raised,” Geelani and Mirwaiz said, adding that “Peoples’ slogan is loud and clear: no to all elections, only right of self-determination.”
Meanwhile, the leaders have condemned the “arbitrary” arrest of JKLF chairman Muhammad Yaseen Malik and several Hurriyat leaders and activists and youth by the state authorities.
“Those in power should by now realise that incarcerations, intimidation and fear is neither a deterrent for leadership nor for people to pursue their struggle for self determination,” they said.