In Jammu, DDC polls bring hope, a sense of belonging

Written by Arun Sharma
| Akhnoor |

November 29, 2020 6:16:23 am

A security personnel keeps vigil at a polling station in Pahalgam as voters stand in queue to cast their votes for the District Development Council elections. (Express photo: Shuaib Masoodi)

The link road connecting the Kotgarhi panchayat in Jammu district’s Akhnoor tehsil to the main Akhnoor-Jourian road is in a dilapidated condition. However, Pritam Lal, a refugee from West Pakistan, has still travelled to cast his vote and elect his representative for Jammu and Kashmir’s first District Development Councils (DDC).

“I have come to cast my vote as it makes me feel that I too matter in Jammu and Kashmir,” he said, adding that though his family has been living in Jammu for 73 years, they had no right to the land. “At least now my four children, all of whom are post-graduates but are still unemployed, can now apply for a government job in the Union Territory,” he said.

Lal was accompanied by his nephew, Mangat Ram, a Seema Suraksha Bal (SSB) personnel. The 31-year-old had left his marriage ceremony halfway to cast his vote. “My ancestors had been craving for this privilege and now, when I have got this opportunity, I must cast my vote,” Ram said.

Like Lal and Ram, many refugees from West Pakistan along with Gorkhas…

Continue Reading This Article At The Indian Express


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