New Delhi, Oct 9 : Former Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) student leader Shehla Rashid on Wednesday announced she was quitting “mainstream politics” in Jammu and Kashmir, citing the Centre’s decision to abrogate Article 370 as the reason.
Meanwhile, as per sources, Kashmir’s bureaucrat-turned-independent politician, Shah Faesal, who is under house arrest in Srinagar, has also hinted at leaving the electoral politics.
Rashid, former Vice President of the JNU Students’ Union, said that her announcement was prompted by the government’s move to hold Block Development Councils (BDC) elections later this month in Jammu and Kashmir, where communication restrictions are in place.
Calling the BDC polls a “sham electoral exercise” being carried out by the Centre “in order to convince the world that it is still a democracy”, she claimed that the “Indian government continues to abduct children in Kashmir, and even as people are deprived of the means to call an ambulance and other emergency services”.
Noting that she joined politics as she believed it was “possible to deliver both justice as well as good governance, and also work for the resolution of the Kashmir issue as per the wishes of the people of Jammu and Kashmir”, Rashid said: “All this would have been possible if the government respected the rule of law.”
However, “the Centre’s recent actions have shown that, when it comes to J&K, it doesn’t even respect its own laws, forget international law.
“The Centre also gets away with it because the institutions play along,” she alleged.
Saying that she “cannot be party to the exercise of legitimizing the brutal suppression of my people”, Rashid said: “I would, therefore, like to make clear my dissociation with the electoral mainstream in Kashmir.
“I will continue to be an activist and raise my voice against injustice on all fronts that do not require a compromise, and I’ll continue to put my energies behind the Supreme Court petition seeking the restoration of special status of the state, and the reversal of bifurcation of the state.”
Rashid was in September booked by Delhi Police’s Special Cell for sedition over her comments about alleged human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir. The FIR against her was registered under charges of sedition, promoting enmity between different groups on ground of religion, wantonly giving provocation with intention to cause riot, intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of peace, and spreading rumours of the Indian Penal Code.
In a series of tweets, Rashid had claimed that the Indian Army was indiscriminately picking up men, raiding houses and torturing people in Jammu and Kashmir, and that human rights abuses were being carried out in Kashmir to serve the agenda of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party. The allegations had drawn sharp reactions. Rashid, however, had said she was ready to give the evidence when the Indian Army constitutes an inquiry.