Srinagar: Opposition PDP on Monday said the huge
turnout in the ongoing panchayat elections was an another
chance given by people to the democratic process in Jammu and
Kashmir, which had been "discredited" time and again.
"People have voted in panchayat elections despite being
under moral and physical pressure (not to vote). They have
given another chance to democratic process and institutions
which have been discredited after every election in the past,"
PDP president Mehbooba Mufti told reporters here.
Mehbooba said she had a mixed feeling when Prime Minister
Manmohan Singh congratulated the people of the state for
taking part in the panchayat elections.
"The issues that were there in the last summer when 117
persons were killed are still not addressed. While people have
strengthened the democratic institutions, we have not come up
to their expectations," she said.
The PDP president said it was ironic that the people who
empower the institutions by casting their votes are rendered
powerless after the elections.
She said while corruption was the single biggest issue
facing the country, the state government was taking no action
to address it.
Mehbooba claimed corruption is ruling the roost in every
sphere of life in the state and even autonomous bodies like
Public Service Commission were suffering from the menace.
She alleged that the government was itself eroding the
credibility of the institutions as seen in the case of
teenager Faizan Rafiq Hakeem.
"The birth certificate to Faizan was issued by a state
institution but the Chief Minister called it fake. It was only
after the medical test proved him a minor that he was
released," she said.
Rafiq`s arrest under the Public Safety Act had provoked
outrage across the state. The teenager`s family produced his
birth certificate to prove that he is just 14 and could not be
detained under the PSA.
He was later released from a jail in Kathua district on
humanitarian grounds following an order of Chief Minister Omar