IIOJK people reject India-sponsored elections


Political analysts have noted that the people of Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir have rejected India-sponsored elections, demanding a plebiscite to determine their political future.

However, with all avenues for self-determination closed under fascist India’s Modi-led regime, they have strategically participated in parliamentary elections in the territory to send a strong message to the BJP-led government.

National Conference Vice President Omar Ab-dullah in a media interview in Srinagar acknowl-edged the significance of jailed Engineer Abdul Rasheed’s victory in the Baramullah parliamentary constituency, saying it reflects the aspirations of the Kashmiri people.

Meanwhile, a civilian was martyred in police custody in Pulwama district of Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir. The civilian identified as Imtiaz Ahmed Pala, a mechanic by profession, was tortured to death at Litter Police Station in Pulwama district.

His family members and relatives staged a protest, demanding an impartial probe into custodial killing.

Meanwhile, APHC spokesman advocate Abdul Rashid Minhas in a statement in Srinagar denounced the killing of youth in custody and said that sacrifices of Kashmiri people will not go waste.

National Conference Vice President Omar Ab-dullah has acknowledged the significance of Engi-neer Abdul Rasheed’s victory in the Indian parlia-mentary elections, saying it sends a clear message to Delhi about the aspirations of the Kashmiri people. According to Kashmir Media Service, Engineer Rasheed, who championed the cause of a referendum to determine the political future of Jammu and Kashmir, won despite being imprisoned, with his son Abrar Rasheed leading a spirited campaign.

Omar Abdullah conceded that the voters had spoken, and in a democracy, that was all that mat-tered. He initially thought it would be easy to op-pose Rasheed, but the sentiment in his favor, due to his political ideology, was too strong, with even women and sisters voting for his release.

Abrar Rasheed, 23, who campaigned exten-sively for his father, emphasized the importance of empowering youth and giving them dignity, safety, and peace. He chanted “jail ka badla vote se, Tihar ka badla vote se” (Avenge imprisonment with votes, avenge Tihar with votes) and hopes for his father’s release.

Analysts says that Omar Abdullah’s statement suggests that the Kashmiri people have spoken loud and clear about their aspirations. Engineer Rasheed’s win is seen as a testament to the popularity of the plebiscite demand, which he has consistently championed, including in 2015 when he raised the slogan of “Rai Shumari” (Plebiscite) in the state legislature.

As Al Jazeera quoted people as saying, “People have now realized that their vote is a weapon… Today, there is complete silence in Kashmir. People are even afraid of talking, but by participating in the elections, they have conveyed their dissent to New Delhi’s 2019 decision.”

The world powers must take note of this verdict and pursue the commitment made to the people of Kashmir, with a referendum being the only way out.

Engineer Rasheed has been previously detained in 2005 for supporting resistance against India and again in 2015 after hosting a beef party, a symbolic protest against India’s policies in the territory.

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