Intro: Perception of the people worldwide about the state of Jammu and Kashmir had undergone a positive transformation when the people of the State participated overwhelmingly in the Assembly Elections 2015.
It’s unfortunate that the new Chief Minister of J&K, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, gave credit of the successful polls to the actual obstructers of the same; the separatist and the people across the border (Pakistan). During the time of elections in J&K, the ceasefire violations by Pakistan, infiltration bid, terrorist attacks and the intimidation by separatists were at their peak.
Throughout the election process which started on November 25, 2014 and ended on December 20, 2014, the separatists and people from across the border (two sects to whom the J&K CM had expressed his thankfulness for the successful election in the state) tried their best to stop people from participating the elections. Some of the proofs in this regards are provided below.
During the preparation of the elections, Indian Army foiled infiltration bids on the border on November 20 and 21. Again on November 21, Hizbul Mujahideen attacked on the police team in Pulwama. Three terrorist out of six were killed in this encounter. Again on November 27, just after the elections of the first phase, in Arnia sector of Jammu region four terrorists were killed. Here five civilians also had lost their lives and 3 Army personnel were martyred. Just before the elections in the Kupwara, the security forces had to fight a fierce gun battle with the terrorists on December 2. Seven terrorists were eliminated here. One of the biggest attacks of the recent times of J&K also had happened during the elections; the attack on the Army camp of Uri in which 11 security personnel including one Lt Colonel were martyred. These are some attacks/infiltration bid which should have been afresh in the mind of new CM of the state.
No one in the Valley had forgotten the kinds of tactics that were used by the separatists to intimidate the voters of the valley. Even if CM forgot the anti-election poster campaign and several bombing incidents, he was expected to remember the killing of two Sarpanches (in order to spread fear among the people just to keep them away from the polls).
All Party Hurriyat Conference (APHC) leaders, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, was detained in prevention on November 16. Even then, just before election of first phase, APHC (M) officially asked people of Ganderbal and Bandipora districts to observe complete shutdown on November 25. On November 24, just a day before the first phase elections, all the separatists groups (Hurriyat Conference (JK), Hurriyat Conference (M), Democratic Freedom Party, National Front, JKLF, Muslim Conference, Islamic Political Party, Tehreek-e-Hurriyat, Muslim League and Freedom League etc.) issued a joint statement from Kupwara Jail where they were locked in prevention, urging people of the Kashmir not to participate in the elections. Whoever followed the elections in the J&K know that neither the Pakistan’s effort to disturb the poll bound region, either by violating ceasefire or by trying helping infiltrators, stop nor the separatists’ efforts of frightening people went week throughout the electoral process of voting.
It was the Indian Army’s alertness, Preparations of Election Commission of India and the determination of the people of the state which made the democratic process in the state a success. High turnout in the state elections clearly indicated that there is no fear/goodwill left for the separatist in the state and the sympathy on the end of Mufti for these anti-democratic elements will only alienate the people of J&K from PDP.
Arvind (The writer is a researcher at J&K Study Center, New Delhi)