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Migrant Kashmiri Pandits Demand Scrapping 'Cumbersome' Form M to Exercise Voting Rights

Kashmiri migrants who seek to vote in transitory camps set up outside the Valley in Jammu, Udhampur and Delhi have to fill and submit the Form M before exercising their right to vote.

PTI

Updated:August 2, 2019, 5:12 PM IST
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Migrant Kashmiri Pandits Demand Scrapping 'Cumbersome' Form M to Exercise Voting Rights
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Jammu: Migrant Kashmiri Pandits on Friday staged a demonstration here demanding scrapping of "cumbersome" process of filing Form M to exercise their franchise.

Led by Youth All India Kashmiri Samaj (YAIKS) president R K Bhat, over 300 migrants took out a bike and vehicle rally in the city and later sat on a dharna in front of the office of the Chief Election Officer (CEO) at Railhead here.

"We demand that the cumbersome election process for displaced Kashmir people should be done away with. It becomes difficult for KPs to exercise their right to vote due to the complicated process," Bhat told reporters.

He called for intervention of Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik and the Election Commission of India in this regard.

"Through this process, one has to apply for transfer of his or her vote from Kashmir to a polling station outside the Valley," Bhat said.

Kashmiri migrants who seek to vote in transitory camps set up outside the Valley in Jammu, Udhampur and Delhi have to fill and submit the Form M before exercising their right to vote.

The scheme was devised to help the Kashmiri migrant population living in various parts of the country to vote during elections to the legislative assembly in September-October 2002 and the general elections in 2004, 2009 and 2014, officials said.

Although rules do not expressly provide setting up of polling stations outside the territorial jurisdiction of a constituency, Section 36-A of the Jammu & Kashmir Representation of People Act, 1957, makes provision of setting up such polling stations outside the territorial jurisdiction of the constituency, they said.

The migrants living away from the camps can also vote by post according to Section 60(c) of the Jammu & Kashmir Representation of People Act, 1957 to be read with 27A(b) of the Conduct of Elections Rules, 1961, the officials said.

They also have the option to exercise their franchise through postal ballot system, as was done at the time of elections in 1996, 1998 and 1999, 2002, 2008 and 2009 and 2014, they said.

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