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Wednesday, Oct 23, 2019

Six months after entry into mainstream politics, Shehla Rashid announces decision to quit

Shehla Rashid is the first politician to quit politics after the central government revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and put the region under a security and communication lockdown on August 5.

india Updated: Oct 10, 2019 05:48 IST
Ashiq Hussain
Ashiq Hussain
Hindustan Times, Srinagar
Six months after her entry into mainstream politics, former JNU student leader Shehla Rashid on Wednesday announced her decision to quit ‘electoral mainstream’.
Six months after her entry into mainstream politics, former JNU student leader Shehla Rashid on Wednesday announced her decision to quit ‘electoral mainstream’. (HT File Photo )
         

Six months after her entry into mainstream politics, former JNU student leader Shehla Rashid on Wednesday announced her decision to quit ‘electoral mainstream’ in protest against Centre’s “current actions” in Kashmir, saying she cannot be a “party to legitimising the brutal suppression of people”.

Rashid, who became a prominent face of student activism following a controversy over a 2016 event at the Jawaharlal Nehru University during which alleged anti-national slogans were raised, had earlier this year joined the Jammu and Kashmir People’s Movement floated by former IAS officer Shah Faisal.

“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,” she said on twitter.

Rashid is the first politician to quit politics after the central government revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and put the region under a security and communication lockdown on August 5. Even though restrictions have been eased, mobiles and internet services remain blocked while a spontaneous shutdown continues against the revocation of Article 370.

She said the announcement of the block development council (BDC) elections in Jammu & Kashmir amid an ongoing crisis has compelled her to take this decision.

“Even as the lockdown on millions of citizens continues for over 2 months now, even as the Indian government continues to abduct children in Kashmir, and even as people are deprived of the means to call an ambulance and other emergency services, the centre is soon going to hold elections to the Block Development Councils, in an attempt to showcase “normalcy” to the outside world!,” she said.

Last month, the election authority had announced to hold the polls for chairpersons of BDCs on October 24 on party lines for which panches and sarpanches are the electorate. The announcement came even as dozens of leaders of National Conference, Peoples Democratic Party, Peoples’ Conference and Peoples’ Movement are under detention.

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 alleged that the Centre now wants to showcase a “sham electoral” exercise in order to convince the world that it is still a democracy.

“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,” she said.

First Published: Oct 10, 2019 05:35 IST

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