June 2019 News

Amit Shah Given Detailed Presentation On JK Situation

6 June 2019

New Delhi: Home Minister Amit Shah was on Tuesday given a detailed presentation on the situation in Jammu Kashmir, where the BJP has been pushing for carrying out a delimitation exercise for getting more seats for Jammu region in the State assembly, officials said Tuesday. The home minister was briefed about the ground situation in the sensitive state, which has been hit by militancy for the last three decades and security arrangements being in place there. Shah was also told about the security arrangements being made for the annual Amarnath yatra, slated to begin on July 1, a home ministry official said. He is likely to visit the State soon, they said. Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba and senior officials of the Kashmir division in the Home Ministry were present in the briefing. Jammu Kashmir has been prime focus of the ruling BJP which in its manifesto had declared that once it is elected to power, it would work for abrogation of Article 370, which gives special power to Jammu Kashmir, and annulling Article 35-A, that gives special rights to the people of the State. The BJP is also a strong advocate for redrawing the long-pending delimitation of constituencies in Jammu Kashmir. There is a possibility of the new government at New Delhi constituting a delimitation commission to redraw the scope and size of the assembly segments and determine the number of seats to be reserved for the Schedules Castes. The demand for delimitation of Jammu Kashmir was raised by the BJP first in 2008 during the Amarnath land row. The Farooq Abdullah government had amended the State constitution in 2002 under which 'until the relevant figures for the first census taken after the year 2026 have been published, it shall not be necessary to readjust the total number of seats in the legislative assembly of the State and the division of the State into territorial constituencies under this sub-section.' According to legal experts, the amendment to the constitution could be struck down by Governor Satya Pal Malik but requires a concurrence of the Parliament within six months after passing such an ordinance. The BJP in Jammu Kashmir has been raising the issue of reorganisation of the State so that Jammu gets a larger share of seats in the 87-member state assembly. As of now, Kashmir region has 46 seats followed by Jammu region with 37 and Ladakh with four. The State BJP has also been suggesting that 13 seats be kept vacant for areas of the State under Pakistan administered Kashmir be given to West Pakistan refugees who have settled in Jammu. PDP President Mehbooba Mufti tweeted that she is 'distressed to hear about GoIs (Government of India's) plan to redraw assembly constituencies in J&K. Forced delimitation is an obvious attempt to inflict another emotional partition of the state on communal lines. Instead of allowing old wounds to heal, GoI is inflicting pain on Kashmiris'. The then chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad toyed with the idea of setting up delimitation commission but could not push forward after its ally, PDP, resisted any such move. The NDA government in 2002 had initiated a process of delimitation of assembly and parliamentary constituencies and set up Kuldip Singh Commission but had agreed to keep Jammu and Kashmir out of its purview. The Supreme Court had in 2010 upheld the freeze imposed by Jammu Kashmir government on delimitation of assembly constituencies in the State till 2026 and dismissed the plea that it violated the 'basic structure' of the State's constitution. Before the LoK Sabha elections, the BJP had declared, 'We will firmly continue our policy of 'zero tolerance' against militancy and extremism and will continue to follow our policy of giving a free hand to our forces in combating militancy'. Following the Pulwama attack on February 14, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said that the government forces were given a free hand to carry out operations against the militants involved in it.