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Hurriyat splits over poll boycott
Ehsan Fazili
Tribune News Service

Srinagar, April 17
Though the two factions of separatist Hurriyat Conference came on a platform of the Coordination Committee in the backdrop of the Amarnath land row for the boycott of the last Assembly elections, these have parted ways ahead of the Lok Sabha elections this time.

Both hard line Hurriyat faction led by Syed Ali Geelani and moderate faction led by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq have come out with separate lines of action while the Kashmir valley goes to the polls in the last three phases beginning with Anantnag on April 30.

As election dates come closer, Geelani has called for a poll boycott. He has also threatened to launch a mass agitation in case all those detained during the Assembly elections were not released by April 30. This was followed by a call for a complete boycott of elections from the Pakistan-based United Jehad Council (UJC), which had remained silent during the Assembly elections.

Things took a new turn when the moderate faction of the Hurriyat Conference here on Wednesday, describing the elections as a futile exercise, sought to hold a plebiscite under the joint supervision of India, Pakistan and “pro-freedom” leadership for a final settlement of the Kashmir issue. “Kashmir is a disputed territory and to hold elections in its territory would not affect the resolute and the political discipline of the “pro-freedom Kashmiri leadership”, the meeting observed.

Acting chairman Moulvi Abbas Ansari also rejected the UJC call for the boycott of elections. “Elections are a non-issue, and the Hurriyat Conference is not going to waste time and energy on the boycott campaign”, he had said here yesterday. He said the Hurriyat had left the decision to people and it was their discretion.

Meanwhile, the women’s underground outfit, Dukhtaran-e-Millat, here today criticised the moderate faction of the APHC for its new stand on elections. In a statement, Asiya Andrabi, chief of the outfit, extended full support to the anti-election campaign of Syed Ali Geelani and his supporters.

The UJC led by Hizbul Mujahideen supremo Syed Salahuddin had asked people to support the moves of the coordination committee during the last Assembly elections. The coordination committee of the two Hurriyat factions, JKLF, other groups from outside the Hurriyat factions, social, religious and traders’ organisations had chalked out a schedule of an anti-election campaign.

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