Early Times Report
ANANTNAG, Sept 25: Braving militant threats, a number of displaced Kashmiri Pandits have returned to Kashmir Valley to participate in the upcoming municipal elections.
According to reports, some of the KPs have got tickets from the BJP while others are contesting as independent candidates
In south Kashmir's Anantnag district, 27 candidates filled nomination papers for Achabal, Qazigund and Kokernag municipal committees as September 25 was last day for filling nomination papers for municipal bodies falling in first phase as per the notification issued by Chief Electoral Office.
Among the contestants is a young Rishap Bali, an engineering graduate. After filling nomination papers, he told Early Times that if elected his priority will be development of his ward.
"Along with my uncle I visited Achabal and my ward. It pains to see the condition of roads and streets. I want to develop them," he said.
He, however, said his ultimate goal is to bring two communities together. "I haven't witnessed the Pandit migration, so I don't know much about it. I have read about it and our elders have also told us various negative things about the migration, but it hasn't impacted me anyway," he said.
Rishap, 23, says his ultimate goal is to see two communities together. "Our elders aren't telling us only negative things, they tell us about the good things too. So keeping negative things aside, I will work for brining both the communities together," he added.
The Kashmiri Pandits were forced to flee the Valley after they were targeted by JKLF and Islamic insurgents during the Kashmir insurgency in 1990.
Despite Jammu Kashmir National Conference and Peoples Democratic Party announcing that they will not take part of elections till the Centre clarifies its position of Article 35A, the Governor's administration announced dates for holding municipal and panchayat elections and issued formal notification.
In Jammu and Kashmir, municipal elections will be held in four phases from October 8-16 and counting will take place on October 20.
Chief Secretary BVR Subrahmanyam said that 400 companies of central forces will be deployed for polls in addition to what we already have in the form of police and other paramilitary forces.