Geelani dares Mehbooba to let him meet people in Anantnag before by-polls

SRINAGAR: Pro-freedom leader Syed Ali Geelani on Friday asked people to boycott the upcoming by-polls to Anantnag assembly constituency of Jammu and Kashmir, saying the election was being held under “military occupation” and pro-freedom leaders were not allowed to present their mandate before the people.

The constituency went vacant after former Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed passed away in January this year. The seat is now eyed by his daughter and present Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti, as the law makes it mandatory for her to be an elected representative of people within six months of taking oath.

In a statement issued to media, Geelani dared Mehbooba to release him from house detention, allow him to visit Anantnag constituency for just five days and meet people there. Geelani said he should be allowed to present his mandate before the people like other mainstream political parties do. “Only then this election will be called as a democratic practice otherwise it is just a joke which has no moral or constitutional status,” he said.

Geelani said his party Hurriyat Conference had a ‘set policy’ regarding every type of “election drama” held in Jammu and Kashmir. He said it was not a democratic practice, as claimed by the government, but just a military exercise as it was being conducted in the presence of  “10 lakh heavily armed Indian forces”.

“India uses it as an argument in the international forums to justify its forced occupation here and portrays it as referendum of the Kashmiri people in its favour,” Geelani said.

Geelani added: “Remove a thousand forces camps from the civil populations, release the pro-freedom leadership, lift the ban over their political activities and let the people decide freely that which side they are, I challenge you that holding of election dramas in Jammu and Kashmir will no more be possible for them.”