to get tough with separatists
The Central government plans to be tough with
separatists after the Assembly polls in Jammu and Kashmir. Though
the Election Commission is yet to announce the schedule, the polls
in the terrorism-torn state are likely to be held in the month of
“They (the separatists) are paper tigers with not much following
in the public,” officials dealing with J&K in the Home
Ministry claimed, adding that the Centre would get an opportunity to
be even with them once elections in the state were over.
According to the Home Ministry, the influence of separatist groups
like the All Party Hurriyat Conference (APHC) is limited to a few
pockets of Srinagar. The officials did not give more than a dozen
seats to the 23-party amalgam if the latter decided (which was
unlikely) to join the electoral battle.
The officials estimated that Farooq Abdullah’s National Conference
would once again emerge as the single-largest party in the state.
“Unlike last time, the NC may fall slightly short of the majority
mark but it is still the only party whose presence is spread across
all three regions, Srinagar, Jammu and Ladhakh,” the officials
What has given good encouragement to the Centre is the not-so-loud
response in the Valley to the arrests of APHC leaders Yasin Malik
and Syed Ali Shah Geelani. Malik, chairman of Jammu and Kashmir
Liberation Front and Geelani, the chief of Jamaat-e-Islami, were
arrested under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA).
They have been accused of funnelling money, received from Pakistan
and Britain, to terrorist groups in the state. The strikes called by
the JKLF and the APHC in protest against the arrests passed off
without violence in the Valley.
The state will in all probability have multi-phased elections so
that the administration gets adequate time to move troops from one
place to another.
Election commissioner T S Krishnamurthy is on a three-day tour of
the state to check the arrangements. He will be back in Delhi on
July 31, the day the Commission has to chalk out the modalities of
despatching a nine-member team to Gujarat to see whether the state
is ready for Assembly polls.
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