Srinagar: 79 independent candidates contesting the Municipal elections called a press conference in Munawarabad Thursday to express their extreme dissatisfaction with the security arrangements being issued by the state government.
“I’m not safe anymore,” An independent candidate, Fazil Khan contesting from Ward 62 told reporters. “I’m getting threats as well. They promised me that they would give me security at my home. I’m trying to bring awareness to the issue but I am not getting any response in this matter. There are 79 candidates in R.K Hotel and the ogvernment has only provided us with three cabs and 4 PSOs. If this hostel is targeted, do you think only 8 PSOs can handle the whole situation?”
“My word is to the government. The Chief Secretary had promised us security, but we did not get it. On top of that, I had a meeting in HMT so I called SHO saab but he didn’t receive my phone call. He called me back later and told me he’ll provide us with security. But the moment I entered the police station, I was asked, ‘Are you a candidate from BJP? Do you have any personal weapon with you? Keep it aside’. We were shocked. If they want to bring the BJP govt in power, simply tell them,” he said.
“We are not going to withdraw. The moment we will win, we want to show to the Kashmiri people that we are the youth, we came into the mainstream area and we can do anything,” Fazil said.
Another candidate contesting from Eidgah, Baba Firdous said: ‘Basically, we did not participate in the elections only to win. Even if we win, we can resign. But the main reason is that we came into mainstream elections. That’s our whole point. If they wanted to do elections only to help BJP win, then why did they create this drama? First the mainstream parties boycotted the elections and then said they want to do it.”
“We want that whatever facilities that had been promised to each and everyone contesting should be given fair and square. If they won’t give security to independent candidates, they should make that clear. We’ve come here for the people,” Firdous said.
“They want us to withdraw because of the pressure on us,” he stated. “They want the BJP to win here.”
Adding on, Fazil said that for the past three days, the independent candidates were being pressurized from different prospects. “They’re not giving us adequate security, proper accommodation in the hope that we will withdraw. But I want to prove to the Kashmiri people that we are here for the youth. We have been moving here and there openly without any security. We want to prove to the BJP government that we are not their slaves. We are just fighting for ourselves.”
Meanwhile, Ministry of Home Affairs has directed the state government to provide adequate security to ensure peaceful and smooth conduct of polls. Reliable sources told Kashmir News Service that governor led administration has put security agencies on high alert especially in Southern parts of the Valley.
Sources privy to the development told KNS that at least 215 candidates in the Valley who filed their nomination papers for the polls have won the elections unopposed while as in over 150 wards, no candidate has filed their papers.
Meanwhile, the Joint Resistance Leadership has called for a shutdown in Kashmir on October 8.
“JRL leaders asked people to observe complete shutdown across Jammu and Kashmir on 8th October to protest the commencement of the ULB and Panchayat election drama being foisted upon them,” said a JRL statement.