Srinagar: On the eve of the first round of polling in Jammu and Kashmir, moderate Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umer Farooq on Wednesday asked the people to stay away from the Lok Sabha elections, branding it a "futile exercise".
"Elections are the spirit of democracy but in Jammu and Kashmir where political and human rights of the people have been snatched, the polls are nothing but a drama," the Mirwaiz told reporters here.
He said elections will have no bearing on the Kashmir issue which is political in nature and needs political solution. "The elections are a futile exercise and the people of Jammu and Kashmir should stay away from it," he said.
Lashing out at the mainstream political parties, the Hurriyat chairman said instead of raising the real issues facing the people they are discussing "non-issues".
He was apparently referring to the debate on Article 370 of the Constitution after BJP included it in its manifesto.
"Kashmir is a political and humanitarian problem but unfortunately New Delhi has been focussing on military approach instead of seeking a political solution to the issue," the Mirwaiz said.
He said the people of India are being kept in dark as far as the real situation of Kashmir is concerned and it was the reason for his writing an open letter to them to mobilise their support in addressing the long-standing problem.
In an open letter yesterday, he had appealed to the people of the country to hold their elected representatives accountable for resolving the Kashmir issue, and said Hurriyat Conference was ready to contribute positively towards achieving this goal.
Advocating for a "change of policy" vis-a-vis Kashmir, the Hurriyat chairman said that "there will be no forward movement if there is no change in Kashmir policy which is based on military approach."
"Change of guard will not matter unless there is a change of policy (on Kashmir)," the Mirwaiz said.
The Jammu parliamentary constituency is going to polls tomorrow in the first phase of the five-phased elections in the state.