Srinagar (Jammu and Kashmir) [India], November 21 (ANI): People's Alliance of Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) chief Farooq Abdullah on Friday alleged that his party's candidates are not being allowed to canvass for the upcoming District Development Council (DDC) elections in the newly created Union Territory and are being confined in name of security.
In a letter to Election Commissioner KK Sharma, Abdullah said that they are not allowed to canvass, they are completely out of touch with those from whom they are supposed to seek votes and excuse of security should not be used as an excuse to interfere in the democratic process.
"A strange and a unique feature have 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," wrote Abdullah.
He said that all the parties in PAGD are aware of the challenges posed in the realm of security in a place beset by violence, but added that these challenges are not new and have been painfully persisting for the last three decades.
"But the (earlier) government had structures in place which ensured security for all contestants irrespective of the ideology they espoused or the parties they represented. The current state of affairs in the realm of security is blatantly oriented towards providing security to a select few and confining others," he said.
PAGD added that the current situation in the UT comes across more as 'an attempt to interfere in the democratic process than any real concern for the wellbeing of the contestants'.
"Security cannot and should not be used as a tool or an excuse to interfere in democratic processes," he stated further.
He added, "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 DDC elections will be conducted in Jammu and Kashmir in eight phases between November 28 and December 19, and the counting of votes will take place on December 22.
Earlier on November 19, After the killing of four terrorists in the Nagrota encounter in Jammu, Vijay Kumar, Inspector General of Police, Kashmir Zone, said that Pakistan is trying to disturb the upcoming DDC elections in the UT by sending in infiltrators, and security forces along with police is keeping the candidates in 'secure locations' for protections.
"We are keeping the candidates in a secure area, and sending double escorts with them when they go for campaigning. We have information that 200-250 militants are ready to infiltrate the borders, but our security forces are ready to tackle them," Kumar said.
Prior to that on November 18, National Conference (NC) vice-president Omar Abdullah also claimed candidates were being stopped from campaigning on security grounds.
He had alleged non-BJP candidates in fray for the elections were stopped from campaigning, while the Jammu and Kashmir administration was going out of its way to help the BJP.
"What sort of elections are being held in J-K where candidates are being stopped from campaigning? Is this the safe, terror-free J-K the Home Minister was tweeting about yesterday," Omar Abdullah had said in a tweet.
"The J-K administration is going out of its way to help the BJP and it is recently created king's party by locking up candidates opposed to the BJP, using security as an excuse. If the security situation isn't conducive to campaigning what was the need to announce elections," he had asked in another tweet.
On November 17, Union Home Minister Amit Shah had said that the People's Alliance for Gupkar Declaration wants foreign forces to intervene in Jammu and Kashmir and asserted that Indian people will no longer tolerate an "unholy global gathbandhan" against national interest.
"The Gupkar Gang is going global! They want foreign forces to intervene in Jammu and Kashmir. The Gupkar Gang also insults India's Tricolour. Do Sonia Ji and Rahul Ji support such moves of the Gupkar Gang? They should make their stand crystal clear to the people of India," Shah tweeted.
Parties including the National Conference, PDP, Peoples Conference, and CPI(M), formed the People's Alliance for Gupkar Declaration and are fighting the maiden DDC elections together. (ANI)