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India’s Opposition Congress Party Decides to Boycott Local Elections in Jammu and Kashmir

© AP Photo / Channi AnandIndia's Border Security Force (BSF) soldiers patrol near the India Pakistan border fencing at Garkhal in Akhnoor, about 35 kilometers (22 miles) west of Jammu, India, Tuesday, Aug.13, 2019
India's Border Security Force (BSF) soldiers patrol near the India Pakistan border fencing at Garkhal in Akhnoor, about 35 kilometers (22 miles) west of Jammu, India, Tuesday, Aug.13, 2019 - Sputnik International
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New Delhi (Sputnik) : India has appointed 63 observers for Kashmir, 79 for Jammu and 16 for Ladakh ahead of elections on 24 October.

The opposition Congress Party has decided to boycott the elections, while the regional Jammu and Kashmir National Conference (JKNC) wants its leaders and former Chief Ministers Dr. Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah to be released from preventive custody before it decides on whether to take part. The Indian government has already freed political leaders in Jammu. 

​The President of the Jammu and Kashmir Unit of the Congress Party Ghulam Ahmad Mir said it was futile to contest elections with his party leaders under detention.  

“We've come to realise that these elections (Block Development Council elections) are being held to facilitate only one party - ruling party. Our leaders are under detention. We have no other option but to announce that we are boycotting the election,” said Mir.

​On Saturday a delegation of leaders of the JKNC met Dr. Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah after State Governor Satya Pal Malik granted permission. Malik also allowed a delegation of another regional political outfit, the Jammu and Kashmir People’s Democratic Party (JKPDP) to meet its leader and former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, who also remains in preventive custody since early August.

New Delhi scrapped the special status of Jammu and Kashmir in August, taking hundreds of political leaders into preventive custody, and has enforced a clampdown in the state. 

 

 

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