Farid Ullah Khan
Delimitation of constituencies by BJP-led government in IIOJK is giving more assembly seats to minority Hindu populace over Muslim majority populace. It has not only hurt the sentiments of the people of Kashmir on both sides of the border but also united the political leadership of IIOJK to resist this unlawful Indian move.
This delimitation plan has been on the BJP’s manifesto since 1995, when the last such exercise was done in the state.
Currently, the delimitation commission established by the Modi government proposed six extra assembly seats for the Jammu district and just a single additional seat for Kashmir. The “Draft proposal” was submitted in December 2021.
All political forces of IIOJK have also rejected the proposals of the delimitation commission, calling them unacceptable, unfair, and unjustifiable to the people of Kashmir. Even the ‘Apni Party,’ which was earlier labeled by Peoples’ Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) as a B group of BJP, rejected it.
Attack on political incomparability of Kashmir
The proposal was considered an “attack on political incomparability of Kashmir in J&K’s legislative issues and “part of the series of measures began by BJP-led government from fifth August 2019 to undermine Kashmiris of IIOJK”.
In leading democracies, gerrymandering alludes to political control of electoral district boundaries intending to provide unnecessary benefits for a party, group, or socio-economic class inside the constituency. In gerrymandering, two principal tactics are utilized: “cracking” and “packing.”
The Commission has proposed redrawing five out of eight assembly segments of Srinagar. Under the new suggestions, the Habba Kadal assembly segment, with a sizable number of Kashmiri Pandit voters, has been allocated three seats. Wide-scale consolidation and formation of new constituencies in North Kashmir and Central Kashmir’s Budgam have been proposed.
The Kunzer region will probably be another assembly segment, while Sangrama will be merged into different electorates in North Kashmir.
Rajouri and Poonch areas, which have a massive populace of Hindus, will be a part of South Kashmir’s Anantnag parliamentary body electorate, which previously had an overwhelmingly Muslim majority.
The plan would raise the number of assembly seats in Jammu to 43 from the existing 37 and 47 in Kashmir from 46.
As per the census of 2011, Kathua has 87.61% Hindu populace, Samba and Udhampur have 86.33% and 88.12% of the Hindu public in Kishtwar, Doda, and Rajouri.
Figures available from the 1995 delimitation show that despite having 56.15% of the populace, Kashmir had just a 55.42% share in the assembly, while Jammu, with 43.84% of the masses, got the representation of 44.57% in the assembly.
Kashmiri Political Leaders’ stance
Omar Abdullah said, “the draft proposal of the J&K delimitation commission is unacceptable. The distribution of recently created assembly constituencies with six going to Jammu and simply 1 to Kashmir isn’t legitimized by data of the 2011 census”.
Likewise, Mehbooba Mufti said, “the real game plan is to introduce an administration in J&K which will legitimize the unlawful and illegal acts of August 2019.
Sajad Ghani Lone said the proposal “smells of a predisposition” and is a “shock to the individuals who have faith in majority rule democratic government in Kashmir.”
The Gupkar alliance has similarly dismissed the proposal of the delimitation commission on the line of their past two announcements with regards to Indian unlawful activity of eliminating the status of statehood.
The BJP-led government of India is using extensive military might against the unarmed brave Kashmiris in the valley who are struggling for their right to self-determination in the light of UN declarations.
Many international human rights organizations, UN bodies, and the international community are raising voices against human rights violations at the hands of Indian forces in IIOJK.
However, the Indian rulers are adamant and continue to suppress the representatives of the Kashmiri people, which is a clear violation of UN declarations and international laws.
Deliberate move on the part of the Indian government
The issue of Kashmir has severe implications for regional and international peace and security. The cruelties of Indian PM Narendra Modi did not stop despite the prolonged imposition of curfew-cum lockdown in IIOJK since 5 August 2019.
They have gone beyond the heights of brutalities by bringing delimitations in IIOJK to lower assembly seats of the Muslim majority and raise assembly seats of Hindus in the minority.
This deliberate move on the part of the Indian government is an apparent attack on the democratic rights of the people of IIOJK, especially Muslims, exposing the natural face of India in front of regional and international powers.
Pakistan will also continue to support Kashmiri brethren morally, politically, and diplomatically at all regional and international forums for their just cause.
The resilient and brave nation of the valley, particularly the youth, won’t acknowledge any such step of the self-presumed champion of democracy and so-called secular state putting together totally with malafide expectations.
*The writer is an independent researcher based in Islamabad.
*The views expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not necessarily represent those of the magazine.