Just a few months after joining the Jammu and Kashmir People’s Movement (JKPM) party, Shehla Rashid has announced to quit electoral politics today (October 9). Rashid took this step after the declaration of the Block Development Council (BDC) elections in Jammu and Kashmir on October 24. Rashid, in her statement, said, “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 a democracy, but the murder of democracy.”
“If we do not voice our opposition to these actions, and go on about business as usual, these injustices will be on us. 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 legitimising the brutal suppression of my people,” Rashid says.
I'd like to make clear my dissociation with the electoral mainstream in Kashmir. Participation in the electoral process in a situation where even the election rhetoric is to be dictated by the centre will only amount to legitimising the actions of the Indian govt in #Kashmir pic.twitter.com/7PMi2aIZdw
— Shehla Rashid (@Shehla_Rashid) October 9, 2019
She called out the hypocrisy of the government by saying, “The government of India keeps inviting youth to “join the mainstream.” However, the centre’s actions have, for decades now, only served to push people out of the mainstream. If being in the mainstream means compromising on the basic interests of your people, then one cannot be part of such a mainstream! If the state really wants the youth of Jammu & Kashmir to join the mainstream, it first needs to demonstrate that it is capable of delivering justice.”
However, Rashid assured that she will continue her work as a social activist and raise her voice against injustice. “I’ll continue to put my energies behind the Supreme Court petition seeking the restoration of the special status of the state, and the reversal of bifurcation of the state,” Rashid writes urging people to support her and the co-petitioners.
If we do not voice our opposition to these actions, and go on about business as usual, these injustices will be on us. I would, therefore, like to make clear my dissociation with the electoral mainstream in Kashmir.
She also called the BDC elections “an attempt to showcase ‘normalcy’ to the outside world!”
She had joined the JKPM party which was founded on 16 March 2019 by Shah Faesal, the former bureaucrat of Jammu and Kashmir. Faesal founded the party to bring good governance and justice to J&K and to bring the youth perspective to Kashmir’s political scenario. Apart from Rashid, Congress has also decided to boycott the BDC elections in Kashmir to protest the detention of local political leaders after the abrogation of Section 370. GA Mir, the Chief of Congress J&K addressed a press conference where he said, “We have come to realise that these elections are being held to facilitate only one party, which is the ruling party. We have no other option but to boycott this election.”
The Communist Party of India (Marxist), on October 4, said that the BDC election is “a travesty of democracy.”
For the last two months, Kashmir has been under a state of absolute lockdown with its political leaders detained. Several global organisations have slammed the Indian government for its siege over Kashmir and for forcing the decision of revoking Section 370 and article 35A over the state without even consulting its political leaders.
Picture credit: Yahoo News