Inclusion of non-local voters a clear-cut de-franchising of people of Jammu & Kashmir: NC

Srinagar, Aug 18: The National Conference on Thursday termed the inclusion of outside voters in Jammu and Kashmir electoral rolls as “clear-cut de-franchising” of people of the erstwhile state, saying no outsiders should be allowed to vote just because they come here temporarily.
“Firstly, there is no clarity on what the chief electoral officer (CEO) has said. What is the criterion of an ordinarily living citizen? Can anyone, including tourists, register their vote here?” party’s chief spokesperson Tanvir Sadiq told reporters here.
He said there are apprehensions among the people, and the government should clarify.
“The important point is that there are many states in the country where there are no elections yet. Those states can send their people here, register themselves as voters, then vote and then de-register themselves here, after which they will again register themselves in their own states.
“This is the apprehension in the minds of the people as there is no clarity… there is apprehension that all this is being done under a plan,” he said.
The reaction comes after Chief Electoral Officer Hirdesh Kumar announced that the Union territory is likely to get around 25 lakh additional voters, including outsiders, after the special summary revision of electoral rolls being held for the first time after the abrogation of Article 370.
The National Conference (NC) chief spokesperson said the people of Jammu and Kashmir should be given the right to vote only because they are locals, and “no outsider should be allowed to vote just because he has come here temporarily”.
Referring to the issue of security forces personnel registering themselves as voters, Sadiq said according to the rules, security forces can register as voters only in peace stations.
“There is Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in Jammu and Kashmir, that means J-K is declared as a disturbed state… so there are no peace stations and then how can security forces register as local voters?” he asked.
He asserted that the CEO’s statement is “clear-cut de-franchising” of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
“People from Punjab can come easily to Jammu. There are about 8,000-10,000 outside labourers in some district of Jammu division. Then, according to CEO, all of them can become voters. In that case, you are totally de-franchising the people of J-K,” he said.
On militant groups issuing threats after the CEO’s statement, the NC leader said the safety and security of outsiders is also an important issue.
“Why are you putting everything on the people who come from outside? When you say outsiders, then you make it a security issue without any reason…,” he said. (Agencies)