Jammu and Kashmir elections a farce: Geelani

November 26th, 2008 - 4:48 pm ICT by IANS  

Srinagar, Nov 26 (IANS) The ongoing elections in Jammu and Kashmir were a “farce enacted by India” that converted voting areas into cantonments, senior separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani said here Wednesday. The head of the hardline faction of the separatist Hurriyat Conference, who had gone to Delhi for treatment and was placed under house arrest as soon as he returned here Tuesday, said: “India staggered elections through seven phases to convert voting areas into cantonments.”

“Eight lakh (800,000) security forces were used to force people to vote during the first two phases. Minors were forced to vote and even people were made to resort to double voting,” Geelani told reporters at his uptown Hyderpora residence.

He described political parties like the regional National Conference (NC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as “worst enemies of the Kashmiri people”.

“PDP’s self-rule is nothing but an Indian conspiracy to continue status quo on Kashmir,” he added.

He also took a dig at separatist Peoples Conference leaders Sajad Gani Lone and Bilal Gani Lone, whose sister Shabnam Lone is contesting elections as an independent candidate from north Kashmir’s Kupwara constituency where polls are being held on Sunday.

“On the one hand, Shabnam Lone is fighting election as an independent candidate in Kupwara and, on the other, both the brothers are in the separatist camp opposing holding of elections here.”

The people’s struggle for freedom, he said, would continue and the elections would have no bearing on it.

Referring to the recent arrests for the September blasts in the Maharashtra town of Malegaon, Geelani said: “Allah has exposed saffron terrorism in India which is being carried out to suppress the Indian Muslims so that they don’t raise voices in favour of Kashmiris.”

Geelani had left the valley early October for getting his heart pacemaker changed. He came back Tuesday, ahead of the third phase of the elections on Sunday. The first two rounds saw a higher voter turnout of more than 60 percent despite a boycott call from separatists.

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