Union Home Minister Amit Shah has started looking for implementing the agenda of the new BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government at the Centre, including promises of giving more voice and powers to the Jammu region. Informed sources said that already the proposal of setting up a Delimitation Commission to redraw the boundaries of Assembly segments in the state, especially in the Jammu region, is being considered.
The Ladakh region is upbeat that the Centre will consider the proposal to give Union territory status to the Ladakh region. Jammu civil society and many political parties have already supported the proposal of the Centre for the delimitation of Assembly segments. The Jammu Province Peoples Forum (JPPF), an umbrella of many civil society groups, has told media that the Centre should do justice to the Jammu region. Talking to this newspaper, JPPF president Pavittar Singh Bhardawaj said that the Centre should withdraw the 16-year freeze on the delimitation exercise as done by Dr Farooq Abdullah as Chief Minister in the 1996-2002 tenure when he had a two-third majority. He said that the Centre should also do away with Article 370 and Article 35A and said that it will pave way for making West Pakistan refugees citizens of J&K as they have no rights even after living in the state for the past 70 years.
There has been lot of palpable fear in Kashmir valley as, apart from news stories, rumours are doing rounds about fresh proposals being mooted by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs to deal with Kashmir. During the Eid sermon, moderate Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Omar Farooq offered that separatists can become a bridge between India and Pakistan to resume talks for permanent peace in South Asia. Mirwaiz expressed hope that the new government at New Delhi will take positive steps to end fear and uncertainty in Kashmir.
Dr Farooq Abdullah, while addressing his party workers who had come to greet him on Eid, said that his party will protect the unity and integrity of J&K at all costs. He was referring to recent media reports of the Centre exploring many options, including creating a separate state of Jammu and giving Union territory status to Ladakh region. State BJP leaders have already indicated that the Union Ministry of Home Affairs will take many crucial decisions on J&K and there would be a shift in the policy, especially carried during the first tenure of Prime Minister Modi.
Already, Kashmir centric mainstream political parties like NC and PDP have expressed their apprehensions for delimitation in the state. They have said that it was a plan to inflict fresh pain on the wounds of the Kashmiris, rather than heal them.