People’s Democratic Party (PDP) leader Waheed Ur Rehman Para on Tuesday won the District Development Council (DDC) elections from the Pulwama-I constituency by 1002 votes. He got 1323 votes against the running candidate, Sajad Ahmad Raina of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) who got 321 votes.
Para was contesting elections for the first time as he remained in jail. Five days after he filed his nomination, he was arrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in New Delhi on 25 November.
When New Delhi abrogated Jammu and Kashmir’s limited-autonomy on 5 August 2019, Waheed was arrested for six months. This year, the NIA has accused him of links to a high-profile militancy case that also involves a Deputy Superintendent of the Jammu and Kashmir Police, Davinder Singh.
Since his arrest, his party has begun an online campaign — with the hashtag #ReleaseWaheedParra — calling for his release from arrest, which it has termed a “political vendetta” by New Delhi.
On 19 December, a special judge of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) granted thirty-day judicial custody to Para. He was then shifted to Jammu’s Amphalla jail.
After questioning, Para was booked for his alleged “close links” with an accused, Irfan Shafi Mir, who was arrested along with Hizbul Mujahideen militant Naveed Babu and suspended Deputy Superintendent of Police Davinder Singh earlier this year.
The PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti, while congratulating Para, said that she couldn’t be prouder of PDP’s Para, “who won his maiden election by a huge margin of votes. Despite being arrested on baseless charges right after filing his nomination people have shown their love & trust for Waheed. Hope justice prevails.”