Separatist leaders in Kashmir have called for a boycott for the upcoming Panchayat and Municipal polls in the state after a newer kind of showdown emerged between militants and security forces when they took on the family members of each other in the valley.

“The participation in polls in Jammu and Kashmir is propagated as people’s verdict in favour of India,” said a statement issued by the Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL), comprising Tehreek-e-Hurriyat chairman Syed Ali Geelani, All Parties Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and JKLF chief Yasin Malik.

NOT THE FIRST TIME

This is not the first time that that JRL has issued statements to boycott elections. Before the last Panchayat elections, a similar call was made by the JRL terming the election as only to harm the interests of Kashmiris, said The Hindu.

The JRL, time and again has said that they want to convey to the Indian government the message that instead of elections they want Right to self-determination.

CLAMPDOWN AGAINST MILITANTS

The call to boycott the panchayat polls has come on the heels of the aforementioned newer showdown between militants and security forces. Last week, militant organisation abducted 2 policemen, including one SPO and 11 relatives of Jammu and Kashmir police personnel after the arrests of 4 relatives of militants, that included the father of Hizbul commander Riyaz Naiko.

Though the Hizbul let the 13 captives go after police released the arrested militants’ kin. The recent rash of abductions was rare in Kashmir’s past.

VICTIMISATION OF FAMILIES

Leaders from across the political spectrum came out to condemn the abductions with former Jammu and Kashmir CM and PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti condemning the abductions tweeted, “Militants and forces victimizing each other’s families is highly condemnable and marks a new low in our situation. Families shouldn’t become casualties and made to suffer for something they have little control over,”

ARTICLE 35A

As the Supreme Court continues to hear a clutch of petitions challenging the constitutional validity, the bench comprising of CJI Dipak Mishra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud has deferred the hearing to January 19 on the ground of Panchayat and Municipal elections are to be held across the state.

During the hearing as well the separatists had called for a total shutdown in Kashmir to protest against the petitions.