Six months after her entry into mainstream politics, former JNU student leader Shehla Rashid on Wednesday, 9 October, announced her decision to quit electoral politics in Kashmir, saying she can't be a party to legitimising the "suppression" of people.
Rashid, who became a prominent face of student activism following a controversy over a 2016 event at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), had earlier this year joined the Jammu and Kashmir People's Movement floated by former IAS officer Shah Faesal.
In a statement, the former JNUSU vice-president said she was compelled to dissociate "with the electoral mainstream in Kashmir" due to the central government's move to hold Block Development Council (BDC) elections later this month in J&K, where communication restrictions are in place.
‘Cannot be Party to Legimitising Suppression of People’
The restrictions were imposed on 5 August after the Centre scrapped Jammu and Kashmir's special status under Article 370 of the Constitution and bifurcated the state into two Union Territories.
Rashid termed the Block Development Council polls as a "sham electoral exercise".
“I cannot be party to the exercise of legitimising the brutal suppression of my people. I would, therefore, like to make clear my dissociation with the electoral mainstream in Kashmir. I will continue to be an activist and raise my voice against injustice on all fronts that do not require a compromise and I'll continue to put my energies behind the Supreme Court petition seeking the restoration of special status of the state, and the reversal of bifurcation of the state," she said in the statement.
Rashid said she had joined politics as she believed it was "possible to deliver both justice as well as good governance, and also work for the resolution of the Kashmir issue as per the wishes of the people of Jammu and Kashmir".
She claimed political leaders in the state 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.
“It is clear that participation in any political activity in Kashmir requires a compromise.”Shehla Rashid
Rashid said the government keeps inviting the youth to join the mainstream but alleged its actions have only served to push people out of the mainstream.
The former JNU Students Union leader's announcement of quitting mainstream politics came on the day the Congress party said it would not contest the BDC polls.