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Engineer Rashid’s Campaigner Shoukat Pandit Detained By Police,Mehbooba Mufti

Srinagar, May 17: Mehbooba Mufti, president of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), has accused authorities of undermining democracy in Kashmir following the detention of Shoukat Pandit, a key campaigner for Engineer Rashid. In a post on X (formerly Twitter), Mufti claimed that Pandit was detained by the Jammu and Kashmir Police at the Chugal police station. She alleged that the detention was orchestrated to hinder Rashid’s campaign efforts and benefit a proxy candidate.

Mufti’s statement underscored her concerns about the state of democracy in Kashmir. “Democracy is being ripped apart in Kashmir,” she asserted, highlighting what she perceives as a systematic effort to stifle genuine political competition. This incident adds to the ongoing tension and unrest in the region, which has seen numerous political and social upheavals over the years.

Engineer Rashid, a former Member of the Legislative Assembly from north Kashmir’s Langate segment, is currently incarcerated on terror funding charges. Despite his imprisonment, Rashid is contesting the parliamentary elections from the Baramulla constituency in north Kashmir. His campaign has faced numerous challenges, including the recent detention of his chief campaigner.

The Jammu and Kashmir Police have not issued any official statement regarding Mehbooba Mufti’s allegations. The lack of response from the police has fueled further speculation and concern among Rashid’s supporters and the general public. The silence from the authorities adds to the opaque nature of political maneuvers in the region.

The political landscape in Baramulla is highly competitive, with notable figures like People’s Conference president Sajad Lone and National Conference vice president Omar Abdullah also vying for the seat. The detention of a key campaigner for one of the candidates could significantly impact the election dynamics, potentially skewing the results in favor of other contenders.

Mehbooba Mufti’s accusations bring to light broader issues related to electoral fairness and political repression in Jammu and Kashmir. The region has a complex history of conflict and political strife, making allegations of undemocratic practices particularly sensitive and impactful. This incident adds another layer to the ongoing narrative of political suppression in the region.

The situation in Kashmir remains volatile, with various political entities and leaders frequently expressing concerns over human rights and democratic processes. Mehbooba Mufti’s outcry is a reminder of the deep-seated issues that continue to plague the region. It also highlights the critical need for transparency and accountability from law enforcement agencies and political authorities.

As the parliamentary elections in Baramulla approach, the detention of Shoukat Pandit and the response from political leaders like Mehbooba Mufti will likely influence public opinion and voter turnout. The incident serves as a poignant example of the challenges facing democratic processes in conflict-ridden areas, emphasizing the need for vigilant protection of democratic rights and freedoms.

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