Remove ban on Jamaat-e-Islami to enable it to participate in Assembly elections: Omar Abdullah

SRINAGAR — National Conference leader Omar Abdullah on Wednesday said the Centre should revoke the ban on Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI) to enable the outfit to participate in the assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir.

Abdullah’s remarks came after former chief of JeI Ghulam Qadir Wani on Wednesday said his organisation will participate in assembly elections if the Centre revokes the ban imposed on the outfit in 2019.

“It is a good thing. Let them participate. We want them to participate in the elections and their symbol on the voting machine. Then the truth will come out. Whatever then we have to say in the elections, we will do that,” Abdullah told reporters after an election rally in Tangmarg area of north Kashmir’s Baramulla district.

“But, as of now I request the Centre to revoke the ban on JeI immediately so that JeI fields its candidates in the forthcoming assembly elections which are likely to happen in July-August,” the former J&K chief minister added.

Abdullah said there have been reports earlier that JeI has helped various candidates and parties in the elections, ‘but, it will be better if the JeI works for itself rather than working for others’.

“Let them field candidates and let them try their luck. I request the (Union) Home Minister to immediately revoke the ban. The JeI should participate in the assembly elections with its full might,” the NC vice president said.

The Jamaat-e-Islami Jammu and Kashmir was banned by the Centre for five years in February 2019 for ‘unlawful association’ and for activities ‘prejudicial to internal security and public order’.

The ban was extended for a period of five more years in February 2024.

Earlier in the day, Wani said the JeI was holding talks with the Centre.

“We want to get our ban removed and we want to play our role in society. If the ban is removed, we may take part in the elections,” Wani told reporters in Pulwama.

Wani, who cast his vote during polling for the Srinagar Lok Sabha constituency on Monday, said his organisation believes in the democratic process and has taken part in elections in the past as well.

“We will take part (in the assembly elections) because we have faith in the democratic process. We will have to take part as we used to do earlier as well,” Wani added.

The organisation has not participated in any election since 1987. — (PTI)