After entering mainstream politics just six months ago, former Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) student leader Shehla Rashid on Wednesday announced she was quitting electoral politics in Jammu and Kashmir following government’s move to hold Block Development Councils (BDC) elections later this month.
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”,Rashid 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”.
Rashid further said, she can’t be a party to the exercise of legitimising the “suppression” of people.
“I cannot be party to the exercise of legitimizing the brutal suppression of my people. I would, therefore, like to make clear my dissociation with the electoral mainstream in Kashmir,” she said.
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.
Shehla Rashid came into prominence and emerged as a student leader
following a controversy over a 2016 event at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) during which alleged anti-national slogans were raised. She had earlier this year joined the Jammu and Kashmir People’s Movement floated by former IAS officer Shah Faisal.
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.
“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,” she added.
Earlier, in September a sedition case was filed against her for tweeting that the Indian Army allegedly picked up young boys and tortured them and also ransacked locals’s houses since Article 370 was revoked.
The Indian Army had officially rejected Rashid’s claims and called them “baseless” and “unverified.” Rashid however, stands by her claims and believes in presenting narratives of Kashmiri people whom she represents.