Sham polls Versus the right to self-determination
Editorial | Jan 13:India is all set to enact another drama of farcical elections in occupied Kashmir next year. The exercise is nothing but a nefarious attempt to hoodwink the international community about the present situation of the territory and the Kashmir dispute.
It is a fact that such sham polls are held to run the administrative affairs of occupied Kashmir and even the pro-India parties seek votes from the people in the name of development, construction of roads and provision of electricity to their areas. However, after the completion of the fraud elections (whatever the turnout be), New Delhi exploits it at the international level by claiming that the people have cast their votes in favour of Indian democracy.
It is a reality that such polls have nothing to do with the disputed status of Jammu and Kashmir and the Kashmiri people have always rejected them, but New Delhi has been leaving no stone unturned to mislead the world community that the people of Kashmir have reconciled to its rule in the territory.
New Delhi has tried its best to ligitimise the polls dramas. However, after the first elections in the territory, the UN passed a resolution on 30th March 1951, stating that such polls do not substitute a plebiscite, because a plebiscite offers the option of choosing between India and Pakistan.
On 17th November 1956, the so-called Assembly adopted a constitution for Jammu and Kashmir declaring it an integral part of the Indian Union. But, on 24th January 1957, the UN passed another resolution maintaining that such actions would not constitute a final disposition of Jammu and Kashmir.
The credibility of the polls held in occupied Kashmir also stands exposed after the recent disclosures of former Indian Army Chief, General V K Singh, that all the puppet ministers and members of the so-called Kashmir Legislative Assembly are funded by the army. This acknowledgement shows that actually, the army runs all affairs of the occupied territory.
The polls in occupied Kashmir had never been a democratic process but it is a facade. The pro-India candidates are facilitated by all means and massive rigging is done to ensure their victory while those espousing pro-freedom ideology are suppressed. This is evident from the 1951 (first) elections when 73 out of 75 candidates were elected unopposed as the opposing candidates were not permitted to file their nomination papers or the same were rejected on one pretext or the other. The two seats where elections were conducted were located in the Hindu-majority Jammu area. The rigged 1987 polls had forced the Kashmiri youth to take up guns against the Indian hegemony.
It is also strange that a candidate can take part in the elections only after he takes oath of allegiance to the sovereignty and integrity of India and he who refuses to do this and upholds the ideology that Jammu and Kashmir is a disputed territory is not allowed to contest the polls. Also, the members of so-called assembly can amend the constitution but with some provisions. They have no authority to alter Article 3 of the so-called constitution of the territory that declares Jammu and Kashmir as an integral part of India.
India should acknowledge the facts and stop misleading the world community about the Kashmir dispute through sham polls. Instead, it must take steps for holding a plebiscite under the UN auspices and allow the people of Jammu and Kashmir to decide their fate by themselves.
(Kashmir Media Service)