SRINAGAR, July 29 (1995): Kashmiri leaders have rejected India’s plans to hold elections in the strife-torn state saying they were aimed more at impressing the West than findng a solution to the problems of Jammu and Kashmir.
India in June extended New Delhi’s direct rule over Jammu and Kashmir saying it planned to hold elections in the state to start afresh the democratic process.
Rebels have been waging a five-year-old rebellion against New Delhi and militancy in the state is rampant. While some militant groups want independence others want to join neighbouring Pakistan, which disputes Kashmir.
“The current crisis in Kashmir is a direct offspring of election, therefore elections are not an answer to the problems,” Abdul Ghani, a senior leader of the separatist multi-party Hurriyat (Freedom) Conference told Reuters.
Armed rebellion broke out in Kashmir in 1990 after a steady build up of resentment against New Delhi’s ruling Congress party and the locally-popular National Conference, which formed an electoral alliance in 1987.
Local political leaders and the youth accused the National Conference of rigging the assembly elections.
Police and hospital sources say more than 20,000 people have been killed since militancy erupted in the state.
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