Para appeals Kashmiri youth to consider Lok Sabha polls as ‘referendum’

SRINAGAR — The PDP’s Srinagar candidate on Saturday appealed to Kashmir’s youngsters to consider the general elections as a “referendum” to send to New Delhi a message about their “dissatisfaction” with the Centre’s decisions post August 2019.

Waheed Para, who is also the youth wing chief of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), said there is a need to send a message “that you (New Delhi) should not accept the silence of Kashmir as its acceptance”.

He told reporters during an election campaign at HMT in the city’s outskirts, “I think the main aim and issue of this election, especially for us, is not about who is against us. The people in Srinagar, especially the youngsters of Kashmir, should not consider these elections as less than a referendum.”

“Do not think they (people of Kashmir) are happy with you (on decisions post August 2019). They are not. There are many reasons behind it. The future of the people, especially youngsters, is uncertain,” he said.

In August 2019, the Centre abrogated Article 370, which bestowed a special status on the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir. It also bifurcated Jammu and Kashmir into the Union Territories of Ladakh, and Jammu and Kashmir.

Para said, “They are scared. They do not understand how they will get the feeling of security. That’s why I appeal to the youngsters of Srinagar because when they set a trend, it spreads throughout Kashmir.”

The people of Kashmir need assurances from Parliament about their identity and resources being safeguarded, the PDP leader said.

“The election is not about winning or losing. The issue is whether we can send a message to New Delhi that the people of Kashmir are not happy and if we can convey our apprehensions that our land, identity, resources are in danger,” Para said.

“We feel that all these things are in danger until the people of Jammu and Kashmir get a solid assurance from Parliament. Until we get it, there will be trouble,” he said.

Srinagar goes to the polls in the fourth phase on May 13. — (PTI)