FIR against Mehbooba for violation of poll code on election day in Kashmir

PDP chief and candidate from Anantnag–Rajouri Lok Sabha seat, Mehbooba Mufti along with party leaders and workers sit on a protest, in Anantnag on Saturday.
| Photo Credit: ANI

The Election Commission (EC) on Wednesday lodged a First Information Report (FIR) against Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate Mehbooba Mufti in south Kashmir’s Anantnag-Rajouri constituency for holding a street protest on the polling day on May 25 to press for the release of her detained workers and polling agents.  

According to the FIR, a huge number of PDP workers led by Ms. Mufti assembled in Bijbehara town and raised slogans for releasing the PDP workers, “which amounted to the gross violation of Model Code of Conduct (MCC)“. 

“The huge group of PDP workers also blocked the main road and staged a protest at main spot Bijbehara for more than one hour, which amounted to violations of Section 144 of the CrPC, which was imposed in the Anantnag-Rajouri constituency,” it reads.

Ms. Mufti, also former J&K Chief Minister, said she was paying a price for speaking truth to power. “Our protest was against the Government of India which was in cahoots with local administration for detaining hundreds of PDP polling agents and workers in the hours leading up to voting. Still not satisfied, the same administration went on to launch Cordon and Search Operations in traditional PDP stronghold areas to terrorise our voters and prevent them from exercising their right to vote. Ulta chor kotwal ko daante [the pot calling the kettle black],” Ms. Mufti said.

Condemning the move to lodge an FIR, Ms. Mufti’s daughter Ilitija Mufti, also media adviser of her mother, accused the administration of “resorting to tactical rigging by selectively arresting PDP supporters ahead of polling” on May 25.

“Prime Minister Narendra Modi praises higher voter turnout in Kashmir. It would have been much higher in south Kashmir had the local administration not selectively targeted PDP strongholds. The police resorted to intimidation and instilled fear, and brought down the voter turnout. Our leaders who were arrested were not anti-national but those who kept the flag of democracy high in Kashmir. Polling was less than our expectations in PDP strongholds,” junior Ms. Mufti said.

She said her mother was forced to hit the streets to “find out why the arrests were being made and seek their release”. “The FIR is one more attempt at intimidation. However, we will not kneel down. We will speak truth to power,” she added.

Ms. Mufti was a candidate from the Anantnag-Rajouri constituency and is pitted against National Conference leader Mian Altaf and J&K Apni Party candidate Zaffar Manhas.

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