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National Panthers Party (NPP) today announced its decision to boycott the upcoming bypolls to Srinagar and Anantnag Lok Sabha seats, claiming withdrawal of security cover to its senior office bearers in the Valley.
"The party is pained to announce that it has decided to boycott the Parliamentary by-elections to Srinagar and Anantnag constituencies, scheduled to take place on April 9 and 12 respectively, as the state government has withdrawn the security cover to senior office bearers in the Valley," Chief patron of NPP Bhim Singh told reporters here.
He claimed that the security cover which was provided to senior leaders including State Vice president Syed Masood Indrabi, State General Secretary Manzoor Ahmad Naik and Provincial president Farooq Ahmad Dar was taken away by the PDP-BJP government.
Singh said the decision to boycott the bypolls was taken after an emergency meeting of the Kashmir wing of NPP yesterday which was of the view of contesting the polls despite "discriminatory attitude" of the government.
However, he decided to boycott the elections in the "interest of the security of NPP leaders and their supporters," Bhim Singh said.
He said Provincial president Mohammad Ramzan Bangay was killed in 1996 inside MLA hostel prior to the 1996 Assembly elections.
Another leader, district president Anantnag Nissar Ahmad Najar, was also killed in Anantnag in the same year but the "culprits have not been identified till date".
"Security cover has been removed from active and senior leaders just to keep the party away from political struggle for justice, equality and rule of law," he alleged.
Questioning the timing of the by-polls, Singh claimed that there are more than 60 per cent voters of Kashmir who have migrated to the neighbouring states for work as "labourers" because of winter.
The NPP chief said he had brought this matter to the notice of Election Commission which had "assured to consider the situation".
Singh also accused the Centre of trying to "rig the polls" in Kashmir and alleged that it had had already decided the names of two Lok Sabha members from the Valley.
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Meanwhile, Awami Ittihaad Party (AIP) headed by MLA Engineer Rashid also announced boycott of the upcoming bypolls, saying "there is a huge trust deficit between the mainstream parties and the people, who have been the worst victim of state terrorism".
"Though AIP strongly believes in democratic process and the available forums, including Assembly and Parliament are the best places to plead the Kashmiri cause, the main political parties, including National Conference and Congress, have not only disappointed Kashmiris but are also responsible in creating a situation where one feels ashamed to seek votes, as these parties have always tried to represent New Delhi in Kashmir rather representing Kashmir in New Delhi," Rashid told reporters here.
Announcing the party's decision, he said the events of last eight months have proven that the elected representatives of both ruling and opposition parties have failed to make any impact on both "civil and police administration and whatsoever the security agencies have deemed proper for their interests, they have ruthlessly implemented it".
"It would have been proper not to conduct elections at this stage but the ego of New Delhi is forcing Kashmiris into another political battle for its vested interest," Rashid said.
The AIP leader said his party strongly believes that Jammu and Kashmir is a "disputed territory" and New Delhi is not "sincere in resolving the issue".
However, he said contesting elections or boycotting them carries "no significance".
"Participating in these elections or boycotting or non-participation does not make anybody or organisation pro-movement, anti-movement, anti-national or anti-India, as elections have been held in the past and undoubtedly they will be held till Kashmir issue is resolved," he added.