Right to vote: Voting facility for migrants only, ECI ignores majority community

KL Report

SRINAGAR

Kashmiri Muslims residing outside Jammu and Kashmir accused Election Commission of India of not taking them at par with migrant pandits and alleged that no arrangements were made for them in any part of the country to exercise their franchise in the ongoing Assembly Elections in Jammu and Kashmir.

Thousands of Kashmiri Muslims including traders and students have been putting up in different states of India in large numbers. Majority of these people according to them wanted to vote but due to lack of arrangements they could not do so.

“We fail to understand why Election Commission of India onloy provide such facilities to Kashmiri migrant pandits only while the fact is that Kashmiri Muslims are more in number who have been putting up in large number in states like, Goa, Kolkatta, Maharashtra, Delhi, Bengaloru,” said a businessman Waheed Ahmed to CNS adding that Kashmiri people are present in every part of the globe.

A group of Kashmiri students studying in one of the varsity in India told CNS that the Kashmiri Pandit Migrants residing outside state in Delhi, Rajasthan, Punjab etc have been given facility to vote in their respective areas outside the state. “But we have been denied this right. We failed to understand why the Commission ignored us despite the fact that we are greater in number,” they said.

A lawyer practicing in New Delhi told CNS that in the Jammu and Kashmir Representation of the People Act 1957, there is already a special provision in Section 36 A to provide polling stations outside the territorial limits of the constituency to enable people like him to exercise his franchise.

He urged the Elections Commissioner to make arrangements for people like him and also other Kashmiri residents abroad to vote at the December 9 and 14 Assembly poll. “Though there are time constraints in organizing this on a mass scale, yet it deserves to be tried out in a few states of India where Kashmiri Muslims are present in large number,” said another businessman.

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