Srinagar, Oct 3 ; A former militant, Farooq Ahmad Khan, alias Saifullah is contesting elections from old City Srinagar city in Jammu and Kashmir on a Bharatiya Janta party ticket.
On one side, BJP’s Jammu and Kashmir in-charge Ram Madhav has been claiming that the Saffron Party is following ” no mercy” strategy for combating terrorism and against terrorists in the Valley and on the other side, a former militant Saifullah is fighting J&K local body polls on a BJP ticket.
Saifullah gave up arms under the 2010 rehabilitation policy announced by the Omar Abdullah government for Kashmiri militants living in Pakistan.
“I was in Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front & Harkat-ul-Mujahideen. After coming out of prison, I formed J&K Human Welfare Organisation for rehabilitation of ex-militants. No one supported me, not even those for whom I picked gun.I didn’t know they were only counting notes, Khan said
“People were abusing me earlier & abusing me today even though I am working for peace now. I will win & spend my earnings on rehabilitation of ex-militants & their children’s education…I didn’t surrender on rehabilitation policy: Khan, J&K local body polls candidate
“I have given up the path of violence and wants to lead a normal life.People might ask why I fought on a BJP ticket but I would like to tell them that unless and until we engage with the political circumstances surrounding us, nothing will be solved. And I will work with dedication for the people who were given false hopes in all these years,” Khan said.
The municipal polls will be held in four phases across Jammu and Kashmir on 8, 10, 13 and 16 October in which 16,97,291 electors are eligible to vote in around 1,145 wards.
Municipal elections are being held for the first time since 2005.
From October 8 until December 11, Jammu & Kashmir will hold elections to local bodies. Both the municipal and the panchayat elections are being held after long delays, the former after 13 years.
Two main regional parties — National Conference and Peoples Democratic Party — decided to boycott the urban local body polls in protest against the Centre’s plan to scrap the special status of the state.
Meanwhile terror group Hizbul Mujahideen has threatened to carry out acid attacks against people who contest in the elections and those who file nomination papers. Without taking any risk, many candidates, particularly from south Kashmir, were put up in hotels in Srinagar, the capital, by the state administration.
The state government also announced recently that the candidates, who will contest the municipal and Panchayat polls, will be covered under an attractive life insurance policy.