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news details
Name not in voters’ list, claim non-migrant KPs
5/25/2024 11:42:16 PM
Early Times Report

Mattan, May 25: Many non-migrant Kashmiri Pandits expressed anguish on Saturday, claiming that their names were not in the voters’ list, and termed it an “unfortunate” incident with a group that remained in the Kashmir region despite the turbulent militancy-period of the 1990s.
The matter pertained to a polling station set up at the Government Higher Secondary School here in
Jammu and Kashmir’s Anantnag-Rajouri Lok Sabha constituency that went to polls in the sixth round of the seven-phase general elections today.
No comment was immediately available from poll officials on the claims made by members of the small community that lives in a cluster in Anantnag district.
“I was denied my right to vote as my name was not in the list,” said Sarlaji Tickoo, a retired government employee and a member of the group that did not migrate in the 1990s to Jammu and other places of the country like thousands of Kashmiri Pandits.
People said they have been born and brought up in Kashmir (Anantnag) and have their Aadhaar and election cards but still were “not allowed” to cast their votes at the polling station.
Tickoo and many others said they contacted the Anantnag deputy commissioner-cum-returning officer over the issue of missing names from the voters’ list. Assurance was given that the matter will be resolved but “nothing was done”, they said.
“I am a native of Mattan and have been born and brought up here. We did not leave our home. I have a voter slip and an election card, and I have cast my vote before. But it is unfortunate that today I am not able to exercise my right. I am sad,” Tickoo said.
She said in a democratic country, everybody has the right to vote. “We are a citizens of this country”.
“We spoke to the deputy commissioner and he assured us that he will address our issue but nothing happened. Like me, there are many people who were not allowed to cast their vote today,” she said.
Deepak Kumar said there are six members in his family but only one was able to cast his vote.
“It’s clear what is happening with us. I am a resident of Mattan. I have my ration card and all other proofs. We have faced many hardships to survive here. If this is the case, then the government should tell us clearly so that we can migrate to some other place,” Deepak Kumar said, displaying his voter identity card at the polling centre.
Vinod Kumar, whose name was also missing from the voters’ list, said, “I have cast my vote earlier but today we were not allowed to. I don’t know the reason but we were clearly told by officials that we cannot cast our vote here.”
He said his father has been into politics. “We have been politically active. But it is sad that we cannot give our vote,” Vinod Kumar said.
“We also want a representative of our own who can become our voice in Parliament but when we are deprived of our basic right, what can we expect? Kashmir is my birth land. Where else will I go? I spoke to ARO (assistant returning officer) but he said he cannot do anything,” he said.
Prominent Kashmiri Pandit leader Ravinder Pandita also expressed surprise over exclusion of names of members of his community from the voters list.
“…Though there was an exercise to include us in the Kashmir voter list last year, I got only one member out of five. What is the methodology? Disappointed,” Pandita wrote on X.
He urged the Election commission and the J-K chief electoral officer revise the electoral lists for the forthcoming assembly elections in the Union Territory.
“Our vote matters in (Kashmir) Valley. We cannot be kept away from excersing our franchise for the motherland,” he said.
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