Srinagar: National Conference (NC) MPs from Kashmir recently participated in the meeting of delimitation commission in which a proposed draft was discussed by virtue of which they have decided to give six additional Assembly segments to the Jammu region and only one Assembly segment to Kashmir valley.
Although the PAGD held a meeting at Jammu day after the participation of National Conference MPs in the delimitation meeting and decided to hold protests and to oppose any such move by the commission, they have come under sharp criticism from many political parties in Kashmir who have equated their participation in the proceedings to back-stabbing the interests of Kashmiri people.
Sajad Gani Lone, former minister and PC chief, in a series of tweets, has asked PAGD to stop lying to the people of Jammu and Kashmir on such sensitive issues. Earlier, PAGD had said that they will move the court against the delimitation commission if they go ahead with their draft proposal about the enhancement of seats in Jammu and Kashmir.
Sajad Lone has sharply criticized the National Conference and PAGD for their double speak on this subject. Mehbooba Mufti had earlier said that the delimitation commission was working in Jammu and Kashmir only to give benefit to BJP in Jammu region and to kill the centrality of Kashmir by paving way for a Jammu chief minister in the UT of J&K. All the political parties of Kashmir including the Apni Party which was earlier dubbed by PAGD as B team of BJP has said that the recommendations of delimitation commission were unacceptable to the people of Kashmir as they were unjust and not fair for the people of Kashmir.
Every political face from Omar Abdullah to Sajad Lone to Mehbooba Mufti has contested the draft recommendation of delimitation commission for the enhancement of seats, saying that they should make the basis of such exercise the 2011 census and not the geography on some areas in Jammu region as being advocated by BJP.
On 20 December, the delimitation commission held a meeting and all the five associate members who are the MPs of Jammu and Kashmir participated and in the meeting it was proposed that Jammu should get six more seats while as Kashmir valley should get only one more seat. According to this proposal of delimitation commission, assembly seats for Jammu region will be enhanced from 37 to 43 and for Kashmir from 46 assembly segments to 47.
According to the media reports from New Delhi the commission has proposed to increase seats in Jammu region in the areas like Kathua, Samba, Udhampur, Doda, Kishtwar and Rajouri while in Kashmir valley only in the Kupwara district they have recommended one more assembly segment. While former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has already alleged that the BJP is out to change the demography and also to change the Muslim majority character of J&K state, the proposed enhancement of seats is pointing to same allegation.
According to the figures available from the census of 2011, Kathua has an 87.61% Hindu population, Samba and Udhampur have 86.33% and 88.12% of Hindu population in Kishtwar, Doda and Rajouri. According to the figures available from the 1995 delimitation exercise, Kashmir despite having 56.15% of the population had only 55.42% representation in the Assembly, while Jammu having 43.84% of the population, got the representation in the Assembly to the tune of 44.57%.
Figures of the past also show a disturbing trend of discrimination with Kashmir valley though the BJP has been saying that it is being done with the Jammu region. In 1957, the first assembly elections were held in Jammu and Kashmir in which 43 seats were allocated to the Kashmir Valley, 30 seats to Jammu region and 2 to Ladakh region. Mehbooba Mufti is now saying openly that it is the dream of BJP to install a Hindu Chief Minister in Muslim majority Jammu and Kashmir and the delimitation exercise is only to make it a reality. The tweets of Omar Abdullah are showing that the National Conference will not accept the decision of commission.