This Separatist Leader is Asking Kashmiris to Turn Up at Polling Booths Today, But Not for Civic Polls

Srinagar: As Kashmir is going for civic polls on Monday amid militant threats and boycott calls by two major mainstream political parties, a separatist leader wants people to come out to vote.

Qazi Yasir, chairman Ummat-e-Islami, a separatist group in militancy hotbed, south Kashmir, has asked people to come out and vote. However, he is planning to set separate ballot boxes near polling booths.

“These polling booths will be for Aazadi,” Yasir told News18 in an exclusive interview.

Other separatist leaders have asked people to stay indoors and boycott polls.

“India is deceiving world by polls in Kashmir. I want to counter that deception,” said Qazi.

The 30-year-old separatist says he is giving new “strategy” to separatist groups.

“I want everybody to come out and lift the mask and express themselves. We cannot hold people at home by force,” he said.

“I am not against people who will vote for civic polls but I believe most of the people are with us.”

Qazi said he is going to discuss this strategy with other separatist groups as well.

“I am also looking forward to propose this idea to the other (separatist) leaders,” said Qazi, optimistic about his plans.

However, political analysts believe that this strategy is going to facilitate the movement of people who want to vote.

Meanwhile, the security in Kashmir has been beefed up ahead of urban local body’s election.

Many check-points have been placed in the city where vehicles are being checked. Sniffer dogs are also being used to check vehicles. We are making sure that no untoward incident happens, a police official said.

The official said while providing a secure atmosphere for the polls was a challenge, there is a good synergy between various security agencies and several steps have been taken to provide a general sense of security in the valley.

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