Jammu and Kashmir poll: Government to brief Election Commission

September 10th, 2008 - 1:11 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata PartySrinagar, Sep 10 (IANS) The Jammu and Kashmir government will brief the Election Commission of India later Wednesday about the situation in the state in view of the assembly polls due later this year.Chief secretary S.S. Kapur and director general of police Kuldeep Khoda are meeting the poll panel for a detailed briefing in the wake of nearly three months of agitations in the Kashmir valley and the Jammu region of the state over the Amarnath land row.

The meeting comes two days after the leaders of political parties, National Conference, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Communist Party of India-Marxist CPI-M met the Election Commission in Delhi to give their assessment of the situation in the state for holding polls.

However, the parties have expressing differing views on holding polls in the state in view of the prevailing situation in the aftermath of the land row.

The Congress party has said it would support the poll body decision regarding the election dates in the state.

“If the Election Commission feels that situation is conducive for conducting elections in state, we are ready for it,” Congress spokesperson M. Veerappa Moily said.

The BJP and the Left parties demanded that elections be held on time.

BJP vice-president Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said the party favoured elections to be held by November end, while pointing out, “even in 2002 the situation was very bad, but still the elections were held”.

Expressing similar views that elections should be held on time, the Communist Party of India (CPI) national secretary D. Raja said the Election Commission should ensure free and fair polls.

Elections are due in November in the state under governor’s rule since July 11 after the fall of the previous Congress-led coalition government when the PDP pulled out of the alliance following differences over the land row. The state assembly was dissolved after former chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad failed to get a majority on the floor of the house.

The land row has had the state on the boil amid conflicting claims from Muslims in the valley and Hindu groups in the Jammu region over a piece of forest land allotted to Shri Amarnath Shrine Board that manages annual pilgrimage to a cave shrine in south Kashmir Himalayas.

Nearly 50 people have died, mostly in police and paramilitary firing, during nearly three months of protests over the land row and subsequent disruption of supply of essential commodities due to protests in Jammu. The issue reinforced separatist sentiment among valley Muslims, who have been rallying for freedom since last month. A nine-day long curfew was imposed Aug 24 across the valley to foil separatists’ rallies.

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