Lok Sabha By-Poll Won’t Be Held On Islamabad Seat: Official

Srinagar, April 29 (Kashmir Voice): In occupied Kashmir, an Indian government official citing unfavorable conditions has said that so-called by-elections for Lok Sabha seat in Islamabad constituency will not be held until the next general elections scheduled to be held in April next year.
According to media sources, this is for the first time that unfavorable situation in Jammu and Kashmir has forced the Indian government to cancel altogether a by-election on a parliamentary seat lying vacant for the past 21 months, reported local media. The official said a periodical review of the situation in the constituency was being conducted, and the authorities would not recommend to the Election Commission of India to conduct by-poll there. Four districts—Islamabad, Shopian, Pulwama and Kulgam—in the constituency are at the vanguard of armed resistance backed by unprecedented public support, which has virtually left pro-India politics in these areas irrelevant. On the by-poll day in Srinagar on April 9, last year, protesters clashed with the Indian troops at several polling stations to enforce boycott of elections. As many as nine protesters were shot dead by the troops, prompting the government to cancel by-poll in Islamabad scheduled on April 12 as it feared more intense protests there. Since 2016 uprising that was triggered by killing of popular mujahid commander Burhan Wani, there has been no let up in protests in the four southern districts. Sixty of the more 100 civilians killed during the uprising and hundreds of those blinded by pellet ammunition belong to these districts. Today, the region is almost out of bounds for pro-India politicians who could not dare to hold political rallies, not to talk of carrying out election campaigns. The seat had fallen vacant on 4 July 2016 after puppet Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti resigned. The decision to cancel the Islamabad by-poll comes at a time when the prevailing situation has already forced it to delay conduct of Panchayat polls, which are due since July 2016, to end of this year. KASHMIR VOICE
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