PAGD Not Allowed to Canvas: Farooq Writes to J&K Poll Panel

“Security should not be used as a tool or an excuse to interfere in democratic processes,” the letter reads.

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Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister  Farooq Abdullah.
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Peoples Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) President and former Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah in a letter to the state election commissioner KK Sharma on Saturday, 21 November, alleged that ahead of the District Development Council (DDC) elections the candidates of the PAGD are being whisked away to secure locations and not being allowed to canvass.

“I am taking the liberty of writing to you about the upcoming DDC elections. A strange and a unique feature has come to the fore. Candidates put up by the PAGD are immediately whisked away to “secure locations” in the name of security and confined to those ‘secure locations’. They are not allowed to canvass, they are completely out of touch with those from whom they are supposed to seek votes,” the letter reads.

"Our parties have been in power in the past and have had the opportunity to head and run the government. We are aware of the challenges posed in the realm of security in a place beset by violence. These challenges are not new but have been painfully persisting for the last three decades. But the government had structures in place which ensured security for all contestants irrespective of the ideology they espoused or the parties they represented."

The letter further says that the current state of affairs in the realm of security is blatantly oriented towards providing security to a select few and confining others.

"This comes across more as an attempt to interfere in the democratic process than any real concern for the well-being of the contestants. Security cannot and should not be used as a tool or an excuse to interfere in democratic processes," the letter reads.

"May I add that the evolution of democracy in J and K is distinctive compared to any other part of the country. The journey is a bloodied journey, soaked in the blood of thousands of political workers who have laid down their lives for the sake of democracy. It is a desecration of those sacrifices when the very conflict that consumed their lives is used as an alibi to customise democracy."

The letter further reads that democracy is still in a state of fragility in Jammu and Kashmir. Governments come and go. No government has the right to alter the institutional foundations of democracy in Jammu and Kashmir nourished by the sacrifices of thousands of political workers.

"Security is a challenge and it is for the government of the day to counter that challenge in a manner which is fair and transparent. Providing security to a select few and literally interning the rest is a gross interference in democracy," the letter reads.

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