No Right to Vote for Kashmiri Pandits? Voting Difficulties to be discussed with Election Commission of India

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Kashmiri Hindu Pandits
Kashmiri Pandits are not returning to their jobs. Wikimedia

New Delhi, May 11, 2017: A BJP delegation on Thursday apprised the Election Commission of the deletion of names of Kashmiri Pandits from the electoral roles and the cumbersome process they had to go through in exercising their right to vote.

The delegation, under the banner of Jammu and Kashmir Vikas Manch (JKVM), led by Union Ministers Jitendra Singh and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi also apprised the Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi about the numerous difficulties faced by the community in exercising their right to vote in Jammu and Kashmir.

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“The M-form is a procedure under which migrant Kashmir Pandits have to repeatedly submit documents to prove that they were genuine displaced people from the Kashmir valley and intend to vote. As a result of this complicated process the number of displaced voters decreased constantly,” a statement said.

The JKVM said that the number has reached a dismal number of few thousand from around 200,000 prior to displacement.

“The decrease was progressive with only 147,000 voters left on voter list in 1996 that went further down to 117,000 in 2002 and even more disappearing from the voter list, down to 71,000 in 2008. It seems the community is being disfranchised under a design.”

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“From around 170,000 before 1989 our number is shown as 72,793 in 2008. It is showcased as an increase from 26,679 in 2002. All this is due to complicated procedure of voting that is open to manipulation by vested interests.” the statement said.

The delegation demanded a sustained campaign should be undertaken by the Commission to ensure 100 per cent registration of eligible voters.

It also demanded that the voting booths for the community should be increased to make it possible for the voters to reach there conveniently.

The delgation demanded that electoral rolls of Kashmir valley are made available to the community in English or Devnagri.

“The Commission assured that necessary steps will be taken to remove the hurdles. The CEC also promised to deploy a senior officer of Deputy Election Commissioner’s rank to oversee and work out the modalities,” the delegation said. (IANS)