Shehla Rashid quits electoral politics

Shehla Rashid

After taking a plunge into electoral politics six months ago, former JNU student leader Shehla Rashid on Wednesday announced her "dissociation with the electoral mainstream in Kashmir", saying she cannot be part of legitimising "brutal suppression of my people".

Shehla joined the Jammu and Kashmir People’s Movement floated by former IAS officer Shah Faisal earlier this year.

In a statement, she said that she was "compelled" to announce her quitting electoral politics due to the government's announcement to hold Block Development Council (BDC) elections in Jammu and Kashmir.

Shehla said that she considered it her moral responsibility to speak up and clarify her stance on the electoral process at a time the Centre was going ahead with its plans to hold the BDC elections in an "attempt to showcase normalcy to the outside world".

"I joined a political formation that never asked me to give up my stance regarding the right to self-determination of the people of Jammu and Kashmir on both sides of the border. We believed that 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," she 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 Jammu and Kashmir, it doesn't even respect its own laws, forget international law. The Centre also gets away with it because the institutions play along," she said.

She alleged that the Centre now wants to showcase a "sham electoral exercise" in order to convince the world that it is still a democracy.

"However, what is underway is not democracy, but the murder of democracy. It is a plan to install puppet leaders. The central government's preferred Kashmir policy since 1953 has been subterfuge and deceit," she said.

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