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Hours after former IAS officer Shah Faesal launched his own political party -Jammu and Kashmir Peoples’ Movement (JKPM) – in Srinagar on Sunday, former JNU student leader and a prominent face in the student politics of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) Shehla Rashid has announced on Monday that she would join with the JKPM.

With the announcement, Rashid – an engineer turned activist who is currently pursuing her PhD from the Jawaharlal Nehru University, made her way to the active politics in Kashmir. The fact that Rashid is the first Kashmiri woman to contest and win the JNU Student Union polls is expected to give her extra leverage.

Rashid shot to fame after she was involved in an event at the varsity, that later snowballed into a national controversy, where alleged anti-national slogans were raised.

“During the past five years, as a student activist, I have been in conversation with all political parties. To join the Jammu and Kashmir Peoples’ movement was a conscious decision. However, whether or not I will be contesting elections is something I am still giving a thought. For now, I will be focusing on strengthening the party’s base in different areas,” Rashid told PTI.

In a short address delivered at the Gindun Ground in the Rajbagh area of the city where her supporters were gathered, she said that the JKPM was a movement for peace and development in the state.

“This is not a party, but a movement for peace and development and a movement for our dignity and unity,” she said.

JKMP was launched with a focus on active youth-participation in the politics of Jammu and Kashmir. Faesal further said that he sees the party as a platform that would strive to bridge the gap between the state and the Centre and India and Pakistan.

“If I would have not moved to the JNU for further studies and remained here, I would not have been the Shehla Rashid I am known as today. I would have been suppressed politically, legally, socially as well as personally. The scope for student activism is very very restricted here (Kashmir). Not that I did not face any opposition, restrictions and criticism in Delhi but I definitely had more space to express myself,” says Rashid, as quoted by News18.

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