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‘Delimitation Commission Recommendations Aimed at Disempowering Kashmiris’: Political Parties, Experts React
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‘Delimitation Commission Recommendations Aimed at Disempowering Kashmiris’: Political Parties, Experts React

“Although this is just a proposal, it is clear that the exercise has been done by the ruling party to fulfill its political agenda.”


SRINAGAR — The proposal of the Delimitation Commission recommending six additional seats for the Jammu region and just one for the Kashmir Valley has drawn severe criticism in the valley.

In the draft proposal discussed during the meeting in New Delhi, the commission, headed by Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai and five other members, has proposed to increase the number of Assembly seats in the Jammu region from 37 to 43 while in Kashmir the tally has been increased from 46 to 47.

A former political science professor and a political analyst, Professor Noor Mohammad Baba, said that although this is just a proposal but it is clear that the exercise has been done by the ruling party to fulfill its political agenda. He said it is a move to disempower Kashmir.

The Commission had called five J&K Members of Parliament to the meeting, including National Conference’s (NC) Farooq Abdullah, Akbar Lone and Hasnain Masoodi, and Jitendra Singh, Jugal Kishore Sharma of the BJP.

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All the five members participated in the meeting despite the National Conference criticising the move earlier this year.

All the political parties in Jammu and Kashmir, meanwhile, outrightly rejected the Delimitation Commission’s proposal and termed it “unacceptable”. 

Drawing flak for participating in the meeting, the National Conference said that it would not be a signatory to the draft report of the Delimitation Commission on Jammu and Kashmir in its present form. The party also criticised the Minister of State for Prime Minister’s Office, Jitendra Singh, for claiming that its leaders were satisfied with the framework followed by the Delimitation Commission.

“Misrepresenting and distorting the facts with malicious intention! Very misleading statement. We have clearly expressed our resentment over the draft of the Delimitation Commission, the biased process of seat-sharing. The party will NOT be a signatory to this report [SIC],” National Conference tweeted from its official Twitter handle.

The second meeting of the Delimitation Commission in New Delhi. / Twitter

The Jammu and Kashmir People’s Democratic Party did not participate in the Delimitation Commission meetings and said that the party was against the commission from the very beginning.

One of the party spokespersons, Tahir Sayeed, said, “The party did not participate in any of the delimitation commission meetings. Our position from day one was that the commission is not only unconstitutional but was formed to fulfill the political agenda of the BJP to disempower and disenfranchise the majority community of the erstwhile state.” 

Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president and former chief minister, Mehbooba Mufti, said that her apprehensions about the Delimitation Commission weren’t misplaced. “They want to pitch people against each other by ignoring the population census & proposing 6 seats for one region & only one for Kashmir,” she tweeted.

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She said that the Commission has been created simply to serve BJP’s political interests by dividing people along religious and regional lines. “The real game plan is to install a government in J&K which will legitimise the illegal & unconstitutional decisions of August 2019,” she added.

Calling recommendations a ‘reek of bias’, People’s Conference chairman, Sajad Gani Lone, also rejected the recommendations and said they reeked of bias.  “The recommendations of the delimitation commission are totally unacceptable. They reek of bias. What a shock for those who believe in democracy.”

Expressing dismay over the recommendations, Jammu Kashmir Apni Party leader, Altaf Bukhari said, “This proposal of the Delimitation Commission is beyond the Constitutional scope and doesn’t seem to be a ‘scientific’ exercise. It also lacks intellectual integrity.” He said that the party rejects the proposal and hoped that the government of India intervenes and the Election Commission of India revisits its proposal in the interest of the people of J&K.

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The Commission has also proposed nine seats for the Scheduled Caste’s and seven for Scheduled Tribe’s. This is for the first time that seats have been proposed for STs and SCs in Jammu and Kashmir.

National Conference working president and former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister, Omar Abdullah said that recommending six assembly constituencies to Jammu and only one to Kashmir is not justified by the data of the 2011 census.

Criticizing the Commission, Abdullah said, “It is deeply disappointing that the commission appears to have allowed the political agenda of the BJP to dictate its recommendations rather than the data which should have been its only consideration. Contrary to the promised “scientific approach”, it’s a political approach.”

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