Source: Indo-American Kashmir Forum (IAKF)
IAKF condemns Jammu & Kashmir police’s highhanded actions against innocent Kashmiri Hindus
Indo-American Kashmir Forum (IAKF, www.iakf.org) strongly condemns Jammu & Kashmir Police’s recent unprovoked assault and arrests of internally displaced Kashmiri Pandits in Jammu, India. Kashmiri Hindus were peacefully demonstrating against the deletion of their names from the voter registration lists and the discriminatory policies of the Election Commission of India.
IAKF condemns the “soft ethnic” cleansing processes adopted by local state surrogates of the Election Commission of India who are assigned as temporary election officials drawn from the ranks of the Jammu & Kashmir state government. The discriminatory tactics to register Kashmiri Pandit voters using cumbersome complex forms and time-consuming procedures have disenfranchised thousands of displaced Pandits, who have already been rendered homeless by Islamic terrorism.
Records show that in the 1996 Assembly election, out of 147,000 registered displaced Pandit voters, 97,000 voted, whereas in 2002 the number came down to 117,000 due to falling birth rates and increasing death rates in refugee camps, and about 40,000 Kashmiri Pandits voted. In 2008, the number again decreased up to 71,000 out of which 17,000 votes had been polled. For example, during the 2008 Assembly polls, there were 400 Kashmiri Pandit voters from Chanam village of Baramulla on the voter list, but in the list prepared for the 2009 parliamentary election only 16 names are listed, which means that names of the Kashmiri Pandits voters have been deleted deliberately. The fast dwindling numbers of displaced Kashmiri Pandit voters depict a pattern of systematic exclusion of the minority from the polity of Jammu & Kashmir.
IAKF believes that the Election Commission of India is acquiescing with Jammu & Kashmir state bureaucrats by engaging in deliberate acts of disenfranchising Kashmiri Pandits while the State and Central governments are turning a blind eye to this human tragedy.
IAKF demands that the Election Commission of India immediately streamline the voter registration process for Kashmiri Pandits and dispose of the discriminatory practices and processes. Kashmiri Pandits are full-fledged constituents of the J&K State and their continuing displaced status and on-going human rights abuse is a tragedy. IAKF urges the Government of India to take immediate actions to correct the voter list and pursue criminal cases against those bureaucrats who are responsible for these misdeeds.
IAKF Board of Directors