Yasin Malik demands political space; Says Assembly elections were psychologically rigged

SRINAGAR – Separatist leader and chairman of Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front – Yasin Malik – on Wednesday demanded political space for separatist leaders asking government to allow them to conduct peaceful public meetings across the disputed Kashmir region. Malik also demanded equal space in local news media publications.

Addressing a news conference here, Malik said that youth were forced to take up arms earlier when government forces did not allow them to peacefully propagate their ideas. “There was no political space, so youth took to arms,” he said.

Malik announced ten-day long “Jail Bharo” movement starting on Friday, May 29, when he will present himself for detention. “If they do not open political space after ten days, we will have a new programme, we will look into what else can be done,” he said, adding that it was their democratic right to reach people, which is being restricted by the government forces. “They reach people under security protocols but restrict our right to reach people.”

Refuting the claims of ruling party wherein they claim to respect the ‘battle of ideas’, Malik alleged them of rigging the opinion of people in Jammu and Kashmir during recently held State Assembly elections. “In Parliamentary elections, we got a small space to reach people and the result was that there was less voter turnout while in Assembly elections, we were not allowed to reach people and were arrested,” he said.

“The political parties resorted to a huge media campaign making people believe that RSS and BJP was trying to infiltrate into Kashmir region and it was important to vote for regional parties to stop their agenda,” Malik said, adding that the party which resorted to this campaign later partnered with the same party which it was apparently fighting against. “Psychologically the opinion of people was rigged,” he said.

Malik also condemned the recent attacks on telecom operators in North Kashmir’s Sopore town while calling upon United Jihad Council (UJC) Chief, Syed Sallahudin, to form a strategy to identify the miscreants behind the attacks.