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NC, PDP seek EC’s intervention to stop harassment, illegal arrests of party workers

PDP candidate from Srinagar Waheed Para accused a senior IPS officer of trying to engineer a low voter turnout in areas where the party has a strong support base.

JNKSRINAGAR: A day ahead of voting for the Srinagar Lok Sabha constituency, the NC and the PDP sought the Election Commission’s intervention on Sunday to stop the alleged harassment and illegal arrest of the workers of the two parties.

PDP candidate from Srinagar Waheed Para accused a senior IPS officer of trying to engineer a low voter turnout in areas where the party has a strong support base.

In a letter to the EC, PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti said, “I am writing to you with a profound sense of urgency and grave concern regarding the troubling developments in the run-up to the elections in the Srinagar Lok Sabha constituency scheduled for May 13.

“It has come to my attention that the state administration, under the control of the Union government, is shamelessly engaged in activities aimed at intimidating voters and supporters of the People’s Democratic Party.”

Refering to the 1987 Jammu and Kashmir Assembly polls, the former chief minister said it is distressing to witness history repeating itself, reminiscent of the “rigged” election of 1987 that caused immense suffering and political disillusionment in the region.

Mufti said she is “deeply troubled” by reports that the security agencies are conducting raids and harassing PDP workers in Pulwama and Shopian districts.

“Numerous party members, sympathisers and activists have been arbitrarily detained without justification, apparently as punishment for their efforts to organise public rallies and encourage voter turnout.

In a democratic society, it is imperative that both election authorities and state officials promote political participation and ensure a fair electoral process,” she said in her letter to the poll panel.

“Regrettably, the current situation in these areas is far from conducive to such principles,” she added.

In a similar letter to the EC, NC candidate Aga Ruhullah Mehdi listed out the names of the party workers who have been arrested since Saturday.

“I am writing to express my grave concern regarding the recent unlawful detention of several Jammu and Kashmir National Conference workers by the local police during the ongoing election period.

This blatant infringement upon their fundamental rights of free movement and assembly not only violates the principles of democracy but also undermines the integrity of the electoral process,” he said.

Mehdi said such “arbitrary detentions” violate the constitutional guarantee of participating in democracy and undermine the very essence of free-and-fair elections.

“It is imperative that all political parties, including the opposition, are afforded equal opportunity to participate in the electoral process, without the fear of harassment or intimidation.

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