Delimitation Commission's Proposal: It will only disempower Kashmiris

A valley-based political observer told National Herald that the move was aimed to clear decks for a Hindu Chief Minister in the region

Representative photo
Representative photo

Gulzar Bhat

The Delimitation Commission’s proposal to increase seven assembly seats--six in Jammu and one in Kashmir--has reaffirmed the queasy feeling of political parties and observers in the Valley that the government has been working towards disempowering Kashmiris politically since it put paid to the special position of Jammu and Kashmir true.

On Monday, the Commission headed by Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai met it's five associate members--Jugal Kishore, Dr Jitendra Singh, Farooq Abdullah, Justice (Retd) Hasnain Masoodi and Mohammad Akbar Lone--and discussed the draft, proposing an increase of seven assembly slots for Jammu region and one for Kashmir.

The Commission has also proposed 16 seats for Schedule Casts (SC) and Schedule Tribe (ST) communities.

The Commission's draft proposal evoked heated response from political parties in the Valley.

The leaders from People's Alliance for Gupakar Declaration (PAGD) , an amalgam of six political parties, met in Jammu to discuss the proposal draft.

Senior CPI (M) leader and PAGD spokesperson Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami told reporters that the proposal was divisive in nature and was not in the interest of people.

He said that it would contribute further to broaden rift between Jammu and Kashmir.

"Prime Minister during the All Party Meeting had said he wanted to remove dil and dill ki doori, but I want to tell you such decisions will not only increase the chasm but also break the hearts", Tarigami said.

Earlier Tarigami had termed the proposal as another step to disempower the people of Kashmir politically.

National Conference spokesperson Imran Nabi Dar in a statement said that "the draft proposal in its current form is biased."

He said that the proposal was unpalatable to them and reeked of discrimination.

PDP president and former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti said, "My apprehensions about the Delimitation Commission weren’t misplaced. They want to pitch people against each other by ignoring the population census and proposing 6 seats for one region and only one for Kashmir" .

During undivided Jammu and Kashmir, the region has 87 assembly segments--46 in Kashmir, 37 in Jammu and 4 in Ladakh.

The population of the Himalayan region, as per the 2011 census, is 1.25 crore. Of it 68. 8 lakh people live in Kashmir while 53.5 lakh belong to Jammu region.

After the central government withdrew the special status of Jammu and Kashmir, 5,764 families who had migrated to Jammu from West Pakistan during 1947 also became the citizens of Jammu and Kashmir.

A valley based political observer told National Herald that the proposal draft was on the expected lines and people of the Valley could not expect anything good from the current dispensation.

"After the abrogation of article 370, the trust deficit between New Delhi and people increased", he said.

He said that the move was aimed to clear decks for a Hindu Chief Minister in the region.

"If the government would implement the proposed draft, it would only disempower Kashmiris", he added.

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