Election discourse in IHK
Nowadays, the people in occupied Kashmir are engaged in a discourse on the issue of participation in the elections, periodically held by Indian authorities. Without any reference to the absurd arguments advanced by those who have been serving the Indian interests in the territory, let us take stock of few valid points, which genuinely precipitate from the debate.
Those who hold the view that the people should not participate in the elections contend that the laws and regulations under which elections are being held make it abundantly clear that contesting or voting for the elections in the occupied territory amounts to the acceptance of Indian rule over Jammu and Kashmir. That is why, it has been made imperative by law for those who contest elections to take oath of upholding Indian sovereignty over Jammu and Kashmir both at the time they file nominations and when they get elected. Further substantiating their point, they say that elections are serving as a camouflage to Indian nefarious designs in view of the established fact that the entire election process and its results are manoeuvred in such a way that India manages to form governments and get elected the people of its choice. The manipulation was clearly evident in 1987 when MUF was about to register its victory but the Indian election commission had no difficulty in undoing the people’s verdict. This is what India has been doing from the very beginning. It has, in the real sense, governed Jammu and Kashmir through military might and intelligence agencies while the Assemblies, Chief Ministers and cabinets have been nothing but a façade. Furthermore, India, at the international level, has been projecting the participation of the masses in the elections as a proof that no dispute over India’s rule in Kashmir existed.
Important of all the above is that the people of Kashmir have been offering unique sacrifices to challenge India’s illegal occupation of the territory. How does it suit them to vote for those who stand for Kashmir’s accession to India? It is humiliating that such people become Kashmiris’ representatives.
To us, participation of the people of Kashmir in the elections, as was witnessed in the last assembly polls does not convey in any way that they have reconciled to the Indian occupation. The fact is that in the absence of a vibrant liberation movement and an able leadership, the practicalities of routine life will continue prompting people to participate in the elections. This will happen regardless of the fact that the elections will go on throwing new Vidkun Quislings to the fore. The formula is simple. Absence of liberation movement is equal to the implementation of India’s agenda.
What we need to understand is that despite periodical elections right from 1952, the sentiment of freedom has never died and history is testimony to the fact that the people of Kashmir have always given their full support to any move, which they thought would lead them towards freedom from Indian bondage. Innumerable sacrifices rendered by the people since 1947 in general and 1989 in particular corroborate this point. It was this resentment against Indian rule, which was clearly demonstrated in 2008 and 2010 when hundreds of thousands of people came out of their houses shouting pro-Pakistan and pro-freedom slogans and holding mammoth marches demanding their right to decide their fate through a plebiscite.
The genuine people with a pro-freedom agenda have to prioritize their tasks. The boycott of polls will no doubt become meaningful as well as successful when the people will really feel that to achieve the goal of freedom has become a sure shot. There lies the answer why the Kashmiris reciprocated boycott calls during the nineties. In the present situation, when the movement is weak from many angles, making boycott or no boycott a point with India may amount to falling into India’s trap.
However, it stands beyond any doubt that there is no moral ground in making people directly or indirectly a part of the election fraud in occupied Kashmir.