Bizzare! Re-Polling underway in 2 Jammu & Kashmir districts, after 2 PoK citizens contested elections in 2020

The state election commission declared the polling to these constituencies as void, cancelling the candidature of Soomia Sadaf and Shazia Aslam.

FPJ Web DeskUpdated: Monday, December 05, 2022, 12:19 PM IST
article-image
Jammu and Kashmir DDC re-polling | Photo credit: PTI

Srinagar: Polling was underway on Monday in two district development council (DDC) constituencies of Jammu and Kashmir where a re-poll was ordered by election authorities due to disputed qualification of candidates. 10 candidates are now in the fray in the Drugmulla seat and five candidates in the Hajin DDC seat.

Drugmulla in Kupwara district and Hajin in Banidpora district are reserved for women.

The DDC elections took place in Jammu and Kashmir in December 2020. In both seats, two Pakistani nationals managed to contest the DDC election in December 2020. However, the counting of votes was withheld in these two seats due to the disputed nationality of both candidates.

After a probe, the state Election Commission declared the elections null and void, cancelling the candidature of Soomia Sadaf and Shazia Aslam, citing wrong information about the place of birth by the PoK-origin candidates.

Both women had married two former militants and illegally entered Kashmir with their spouses as part of the government's rehabilitation policy for surrendered militants in 2010.

Officials say that after deleting the names of Somia Sadaf and Shazia Begum, 10 candidates are now in the fray in the Drugmulla seat and five candidates in the Hajin DDC seat.

PoK women marying Kashmiri men

There are about 350 Kashmiri men who have wed Pakistani women. These Kashmiri Indian men crossed the Line of Control in the early 1990s to receive military training in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir before joining terrorism. However, once there, they changed their minds and decided against becoming terrorists. Then, several of them wed Pakistani women there.

These men had admitted under questioning by security organisations that they entered India illegally, from Nepal rather than the recognised border stations along the Line of Control (LOC) after the government launched its rehabilitation policy.

But once they arrived in Kashmir, the women began to have identity issues.

Changing political loyalities

Interestingly, some of the candidates have changed their party loyalties in the last two years but their poll symbol remains unchanged.

This has created a strange situation. On the Drugmulla seat, the candidate who was a part of Mehbooba Mufti's Party PDP has now joined Sajad Lone's People's Conference. PDP's election symbol is an ink pot and pen. So now, it's the People's Conference that is seeking votes on the PDP symbol, while the PDP is forced to convince people to vote against it.

Both parties say they requested election authorities to change the symbol of candidates. But the state election commission rejected it on grounds that the last date for withdrawal of nominations was on November 23, 2020.

It has also confused voters. A senior People's Conference leader said he's finding it hard to explain to his supporters why they should vote for the PDP symbol.

Elections for district development Councils (DDC) were the first move by the Centre to revive the democratic process in Jammu and Kashmir after the revocation of its special status and statehood.

(If you have a story in and around Mumbai, you have our ears, be a citizen journalist and send us your story here. )

(To receive our E-paper on WhatsApp daily, please click here.  To receive it on Telegram, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)

RECENT STORIES

Coast Guard ready to boost its ship-shore launch prowess

Coast Guard ready to boost its ship-shore launch prowess

Bihar: 'Abusive' IAS officer KK Pathak issues clarification, but does not issue an apology

Bihar: 'Abusive' IAS officer KK Pathak issues clarification, but does not issue an apology

Bail conditions may be relaxed if bonds not produced in a month, SC to courts

Bail conditions may be relaxed if bonds not produced in a month, SC to courts

Visva Bharati hits back at Mamata Banerjee: 'She sees through ears, should use her brain'

Visva Bharati hits back at Mamata
Banerjee: 'She sees through ears, should use her brain'

RTI activists to reach out to citizens against Digital Personal Data Protection Bill

RTI activists to reach out to citizens against Digital Personal Data Protection Bill