Senior Congress leader Gulam Nabi Azad said today that the Election Commission (EC) should ensure free and fair Assembly polls in Gujarat "without any fear". "I would request the Election Commission that they should ensure free and fair election, without any fear... That is our apprehension," Azad told reporters here. Assembly election in Gujarat will be held in two phases on December 9 and 14. Replying to a question about militants targeting and killing political activists in Kashmir, he said, "It is very unfortunate that political workers are being targeted by militants and they are being killed by workers of other political parties too... "It is happening in Kashmir. It is happening in Kerala and in Rajasthan. So the atmosphere across the country is very bad.
It is most unfortunate. I condemn it," he said. Asked about the recent torture of Congress workers by militants in Shopian area, the Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha said, "It should not be tolerated. I hope that security forces will be able to apprehend them sooner or later and take them to task." On Art of Living Foundation head Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's announcement on meeting leaders of the Hurriyat Conference, Azad said, "I don't know who has authorised him. There are a number of self-styled men and leaders who are trying to fish in troubled waters." On Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's initiative to resolve the Ram Janambhoomi dispute in Ayodhya, Azad said, "Since the case has been before the Supreme Court, let the Supreme Court decide. Whatever the court decides that will be binding on each and every society." "I don't think that any other organisation or individual can try to decide and how far that decision will be acceptable to various people of different religions," he added. Asked about National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah's statement that PoK is part of Pakistan, he said that each political party, even the BJP-RSS, has its own stand on the matter. "So far as I and my party are concerned, PoK is part of Jammu and Kashmir and it should remain as part of Jammu and Kashmir as Kashmir is part of India," he added.
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