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Opposition Leaders in Indian-Occupied Kashmir Allege Government Interference in Campaigns

Indian-Occupied Kashmir

The Opposition leaders in Indian-occupied Kashmir (IoK) are alleging that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s administration is obstructing their campaign efforts by denying or revoking permissions for events, purportedly to favor his party’s “proxies.”

Omar Abdullah, representing the National Conference, the region’s largest regional political party, has accused Modi’s government of deliberately undermining his campaign ahead of the first round of voting in IoK’s three seats.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), led by Modi, is notably abstaining from participating in IoK’s elections for the first time since 1996.

This decision contradicts Modi’s narrative of integrating the region with the rest of India and fostering peace in a valley marked by a 35-year-long freedom movement against Indian rule.

In 2019, Modi’s government revoked IoK’s partial autonomy, downgraded its statehood, and reorganized it into two federally controlled territories: Kashmir and Jammu, along with the mountainous Ladakh region.

Although the BJP isn’t fielding candidates in IoK’s three seats, it has indicated that it would support smaller regional parties as part of its overarching strategy, albeit without specifying which parties.

Abdullah, in a letter to the Election Commission of India, has accused the police, under federal government control, of arbitrarily canceling permissions for his rallies, ostensibly to aid BJP-backed “proxy candidates.”

Similarly, Mehbooba Mufti, head of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), another influential regional political entity, has accused the police of hindering her campaign activities.

The conduct of the police, allegedly curtailing movement to bolster BJP-affiliated proxy parties, has drawn criticism from both Abdullah and Mufti, who have expressed solidarity in opposition to the BJP and pledged support for a federal alliance led by the Congress party and comprising over two dozen opposition parties.

Additionally, the state election commission has cautioned PDP’s Srinagar candidate, Waheedur Rehman Para, against characterizing the election as a “referendum” against IoK’s semi-autonomous status revocation in 2019 during his speeches.

While Srinagar is slated to vote on May 13, elections in the other two seats are scheduled for May 20 and 25.

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I am a dynamic professional, specializing in Peace and Conflict Studies, Conflict Management and Resolution, and International Relations. My expertise is particularly focused on South Asian Conflicts and the intricacies of the Indian Ocean and Asia Pacific Politics. With my skills as a Content Writer, I serve as a bridge between academia and the public, translating complex global issues into accessible narratives. My passion for fostering understanding and cooperation on the national and international stage drives me to make meaningful contributions to peace and global discourse.

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