Elections Centric Violence in Places and Setting Fire at Religious Minorities’ Houses: Ain o Salish Kendra (ASK)’s Concern

News of violence centering the upcoming 11th National Parliamentary Election, on many parts of the country, has been published in various media reports. It has also been reported that the political parties and its candidates are being attacked, they are being barred from campaigning freely for the election, and fear is being instilled among the people. Besides, the law enforcing agencies have also been alleged to arrest various candidates and political activists, causing them harassment in many ways by throwing them in various legal complexities. Therefore, many candidates are being unable to campaign for the election in different regions.

ASK’s statistics, collected from various news media reports, show that since the declaration of the election schedule (11 November to 22 December 2018), 2152 were injured while 8 died in a total of 238 incidents of violence. Under these circumstances, fear and concern regarding the election are generating among the people. On the other hand, we are concerned about the Election Commission’s role in controlling the situation. It is the responsibility of the Election Commission to create a peaceful and participatory election environment for all; however, it has been unable to live up to this expectation of the public and failed to provide equal opportunities to candidates of all political parties. Moreover, houses of the minority communities in various places have been set on fire, during the past few days, which is extremely upsetting. Besides, religious statues have also been destroyed.

Only one week remains for the election. In this situation, ASK demands that in order to create a participatory and fair election environment for the candidates and the voters where they can exercise their right to vote freely without any fear, Election Commission shall immediately take steps to address the abovementioned complaints. Alongside finding the reason behind burning down houses of the religious minorities, it shall also identify the responsible person for the act and bring him under the purview of law as soon as possible. ASK urges to the Election Commission to take effective steps to ensure that such incidents will never happen again in future.