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Jamaat-e-Islami J&K ready for electoral comeback if Centre revokes ban

The announcement came from Jamaat-e-Islami's panel head Ghulam Qadir Wani during a rare press conference here. Wani, who was seen casting his vote in the May 13 polls along with other JeI activists, articulated their readiness to re-engage with the democratic process.
Last Updated : 15 May 2024, 11:14 IST
Last Updated : 15 May 2024, 11:14 IST

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Srinagar: In a significant development that sent ripples through the political landscape of the valley, the banned Jamaat-e-Islami Jammu and Kashmir on Wednesday announced that it was ready to contest upcoming Assembly elections, if the central government revokes ban on it.

This statement marked a potentially transformative moment in the region's tumultuous political history, promising to reshape the dynamics of electoral politics and governance in the valley.

The announcement came from Jamaat-e-Islami's panel head Ghulam Qadir Wani during a rare press conference here. Wani, who was seen casting his vote in the May 13 polls for Srinagar Lok Sabha polls along with other JeI activists, articulated their readiness to re-engage with the democratic process.

“We have always believed in the power of people's mandate and democratic governance,” he said. “If the Centre removes the ban imposed on us, we are ready to participate in the elections and work towards the betterment of Kashmir through legitimate political means.”

Wani said a crucial session of JeI’s Majlis-e Shoora was held and a decision was taken to contest polls. “We never changed our stance as we believe in democracy,” he said.

Asked why the JeI members boycotted polls in the past, he said when nobody voted, JeI followed suit. “There was pressure and threat as well,” Wani claimed.

The Jamaat-e-Islami, known for its deep-rooted influence in the socio-political and religious spheres of Kashmir, was banned in 2019 under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), on grounds of allegedly supporting militant activities. This prohibition significantly curtailed its operations and political activities, leading to widespread arrests of its members and a clampdown on its assets.

Wani said socio-religious reforms would be the poll plank of the JeI besides drug abuse and growing immortality.

The JeI, a politico-religious organisation, first entered the assembly elections when National Conference (NC) founder late Sheikh Abdullah was in jail in 1972. It fielded nominees for 21 seats in the 75 member assembly.

The party had won just five seats - two each in Srinagar and Kulgam (south Kashmir) and one in Sopore (north Kashmir). Till 1987, the JeI actively participated in all elections in Kashmir. However, after the allegations of rigging in 1987 assembly elections and eruption of militancy in 1989, it stayed away from the poll process till now.

While overtly the JeI preached election boycott campaigns all these years, covertly it used to campaign for the People’s Democratic Party since 2002 Assembly elections.

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Published 15 May 2024, 11:14 IST

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