Shehla Rashid quits mainstream electoral politics in Kashmir, stand with Kashmiris

"The centre now wants to showcase a sham electoral exercise in order to convince the world that it is still a democracy. Its a plan to install puppet leaders"

Shehla Rashid, activist and former JNU student leader on Wednesday announced her decision to quit electoral politics in Kashmir.

Rashid had joined the Jammu and Kashmir People’s Party, launched by former IAS officer Shah Faesal, in March this year. Shah Faesal is in detention since August 14th, 2019.

Protests in Kashmir post 5th august lockdown
Photos from NewYork Times

The response has come after the centre´s decision to hold Block development council elections in Jammu and Kashmir even while a large part of the valley is under a security and communication lockdown for the last 65 days.

She said that elections to the Block Development Councils are an attempt to showcase “normalcy” to the outside world.

However, she now says, “It is clear that participation in any political activity in Kashmir requires a compromise.” Her statement adds that she will continue her work as an activist, but cannot in good faith continue to engage in mainstream politics.

“If being in the mainstream means compromising on the basic interests of your people, then one cannot be part of such a mainstream!” Rashid said.

Shehla said that “centre’s recent actions have shown that, when it comes to J&K, it doesn’t even respect its own laws, forget international law. 

In view of mounting international pressure on the Indian government to end the siege in Kashmir, the centre now wants to showcase a sham electoral exercise in order to convince the world that it is still a democracy. However, what is underway is not democracy, but the murder of democracy. It is a plan to install puppet leaders.

In her Facebook post, Shehla elaborated on the reason behind her quitting the electoral politics in Kashmir.

She said that- “Political leaders are being forced to contest elections only on the issue of restoration of statehood, and asked to keep quiet about Article 370 and bifurcation of the state! Anyone who doesn’t comply will face incarceration. Anyone challenging their detention will be slapped with the draconian Public Safety Act. It is clear that participation in any political activity in Kashmir requires a compromise.”

“I would, therefore, like to make clear my dissociation with the electoral mainstream in Kashmir. I stand in solidarity with my people who are being made to suffer for even the most basic of amenities and being deprived of the most basic of rights. I cannot be a party to the exercise of legitimizing the brutal suppression of my people,” the former JNU student leader said.

The former JNU leader also complained about the Indian government diabolical stance of inviting youth to join the “mianstream” while pushing people more and more out of the mainstream over the decades.

Shehla Rashid and her party have also filed a petition in the supreme court seeking the restoration of the special status of the state, and the reversal of bifurcation of the state. The supreme court has postponed all petition hearing on matters related to Kashmir till the end of November.

Shehla has been charged with sedition for highlighting the truth about atrocities on Kashmiri people post 5th August.  Shehla says that she will continue to be an activist and raise my voice against injustice on all fronts.

The Kashmir Valley has been under a severe blockade 65 days now, ever since the Centre read down Article 370 of the constitution, revoking the state’s special status, and bifurcated Jammu and Kashmir into two union territories. A large number of political leaders and workers are under house arrest, including two former chief ministers.

 

 

 

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