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Stay Away from Lok Sabha polls or Face the Gun: Hizbul Chief Riyaz Naikoo Warns Kashmiris

File photo of Riyaz Naikoo.

File photo of Riyaz Naikoo.

Riyaz Naikoo, commander of terrorist organisation Hizbul Mujahideen, called the mainstream leaders “puppets of Delhi” and asked the people of Kashmir to stay away from general elections.

Srinagar: Days ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, Riyaz Naikoo, commander of terrorist organisation Hizbul Mujahideen, has warned the people of Kashmir to stay away from the electoral process or face the gun.

In an audio clip purportedly of Hizbul Mujahideen’s operational commander Riyaz Naikoo, he calls the mainstream leaders “puppets of Delhi”, and asks people to stay away from the general elections.

“Those who will vote in the elections will be gaddar (unfaithful), your vote will strengthen India,” Naikoo is heard saying in the audio which is being circulated on the social media, the authenticity of which could not be independently verified by News18.

“Stay away from the elections and poll rallies. We have been at war with the people who participate in the election process, and the war will continue. We will treat them as we have been doing in the past,” Naikoo says, making a reference to the killings of Kashmiri locals at the hands of terrorists.

“Our issue is not development but the Kashmir dispute, which India is not ready to accept. They (politicians) ask for votes and promise that they will work towards a solution (of Kashmir) but they have failed since 1947,” Naikoo says in the audio.

He also declares top politicians Farooq Abdullah, Mahbooba Mufti and Sajad Lone as “agents of India” and calls for plebiscite to resolve the Kashmir problem.

Addressing independent MLA Engineer Rasheed, who is contesting from the Baramulla seat, Naikoo says in the audio, “You were in the Assembly for 10 years. India didn’t accept you, neither as human nor as MLA. You are being pushed out and dragged. You were summoned by the NIA.”

“When India does not agree to listen to you, what will you do?” he asks Rasheed, adding that the mainstream politicians in the state are being used as “tissue papers”.

In a first, the commander of the extremist group has also named IAS topper-turned-politician Shah Faesal who recently floated a new political party, and JNU scholar Shehla Rashid, who joined Faesal’s party.

Faesal, Naikoo says in the audio, is the new Sheikh Abdullah of Kashmir, referring to the first prime minister of Jammu and Kashmir and the founder of National Conference. “You left the IAS but you want chair (power) which will shower bullets and pellets on the people,” he tells Faesal.

Faesal has said that his party is not contest the 2019 Lok Sabha elections but will be taking part in the Assembly elections in the state.

Questioning Faesal and Rashid’s decision to join electoral politics, Naikoo says, “I have no regrets from Mehbbooba Mufti and Farooq Abdullah, but you (Faesal) and Shehla are educated. I will leave the weapons and join you if you can prove to me, through the history of Kashmir and Quran, that I am wrong. But if I prove that you wrong, I will not ask you to join me, but instead request you to not support the Indian politics.”

“You cannot be Arvind Kejriwal and Imran Khan, they are living in a free land,” he says in the audio.

Talking about Pulwama’s suicide bomber Adil Ahmad Dhar, Naikoo says, “Had India been ready to solve the (Kashmir) issue, Adil will not have blown himself up to attack the Indian forces.”

Zakir Musa, former chief of terror outfit Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind, has also asked people of Kashmir to stay away from polls in another purported audio clip. “There are people who will try to lure you and ask for the votes. It is kufur (profanity) to participate in the polls, whether in India or in the claimed country of God (Pakistan),” Musa is heard saying.