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Delimitations in Jammu and Kashmir

The Kashmiri political leadership has opposed this new report on delimitation because the delimitation of constituencies in India is scheduled to take place in 2026, while the recent delimitation of constituencies in Kashmir alone is in itself a question mark that displays the ulterior designs of the Modi government.

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On 5th May, the commission set up by the Modi government submitted its final report on the delimitation of assembly and parliamentary constituencies in Jammu and Kashmir. All political parties in Jammu & Kashmir except the BJP have opposed these changes, but the Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party government has maintained its traditional stubbornness and wants to suppress the issue of occupied Jammu and Kashmir forever through coercion and force.

The Kashmir dispute is the only global issue that has not been resolved despite the passage of 73 years due to the stubbornness of India. From the independence of Pakistan and India in 1947 till today, India’s stubbornness has been an obstacle in the way of giving the people of Kashmir their basic right i.e. right to self-determination and from the very beginning, India’s attitude has been misleading.

Read more: India orders installation of CCTVs in each & every corner of Kashmir

Looking back at the revocation of Article 370

On August 5, 2019, the Modi government repealed Article 370, dividing the state of Jammu and Kashmir and changing its status into two Union Territories, namely Jammu & Kashmir and, Ladakh. The Kashmiris have more reservations about the repeal of Article 35A than Article 370. The Indian government is trying to end the disputed status of Kashmir by repealing Article 35A of the Indian Constitution. According to media reports, since the repeal of Article 35A, non-local people have been resettled in Kashmir and issued domiciles to change the population ratio in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Delimitation of parliamentary constituencies is also linked to it and is a well-thought-out plan to integrate Jammu and Kashmir into India forever based on the Indian illegal occupation.

The delimitation commission was set up on March 6, 2020, headed by Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai, a retired Supreme Court judge. The Chief Election Commissioner of Jammu and Kashmir and the Chief Electoral Officer of Jammu and Kashmir are members, while the five members of the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly are associate members. The main purpose of setting up the Delimitation Commission was to redistrict the constituencies of the State of Jammu and Kashmir to create constituencies with a majority of the Hindu population so that the representatives of Jammu would get a majority in the State Assembly so that the next government in Jammu & Kashmir should be composed of Hindus and Kashmiri Muslims should have minimum representation in the State assembly. After the release of the delimitation report, the Indian government seems to achieve these objectives.

The delimitation commission has increased the number of Assembly seats to seven – six in Jammu (now 43 seats) and one in Kashmir (now 47). Previously, there were 37 seats for Jammu and 46 for Kashmir. The Commission has also made major changes in the structure of the existing Assembly seats to ensure the victory of BJP candidates in the forthcoming so-called elections and to ensure a majority for Hindu representatives in the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly.

When the delimitation basis is the 2011 census, the changes mean that 44% of the population (Jammu) will vote for 48% of the seats, while 56% of Kashmiris will vote for the remaining 52%. In the previous setup, Kashmir with 56 percent population had 55.4 percent seats and Jammu with 43.8 percent had 44.5 percent seats. Four of Jammu’s six new seats have a Hindu-majority population. Of the two new seats in the Chenab region, Doda and Kisthwar are in the Muslim minority in the Pedder seat. In Kashmir, a new seat is in Kupwara, the stronghold of the People’s Conference, which is seen as close to the BJP.

Read more: Clashes in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir after death of minority Hindu

The agenda of the Bharatiya Janata Party, led by Modi and Amit Shah, is to install a government in Jammu & Kashmir, for the first time, with a Hindu Chief Minister along with a Hindu majority.

And, this is the model which Israel has already adopted in Palestine

Since the abolition of 35A, non-Kashmiri people have been settled in Kashmir and domiciles are being issued to them to bring illegal demographic changes in Kashmir in favor of the Hindu community.

The Kashmiri political leadership has opposed this new report on delimitation because the delimitation of constituencies in India is scheduled to take place in 2026, while the recent delimitation of constituencies in Kashmir alone is in itself a question mark that displays the ulterior designs of the Modi government.

Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) is a contentious issue between Pakistan and India that has been recognized by India as a contentious issue at the international forum including the United Nations. The “Lahore Peace Agreement” signed by India and Pakistan in February 1999, including the Simla Agreement of 1972, recognizes Jammu and Kashmir as a dispute. Since then, the Jammu and Kashmir dispute has topped the list of eight-point agendas in various rounds of talks under the “Composite Dialogue” between the two countries.

Read more: Remapping political structure in Indian Occupied Jammu & Kashmir

The move by the Indian government is aimed at forcing Kashmiri Muslims to acknowledge India’s illegal occupation of Kashmir by force, followed by negotiations with Pakistan based on “ground realities” so that India can assert its sovereignty over the state of Jammu & Kashmir. Peaceful and lasting relations between Pakistan and India can only be possible if a solution to the Kashmir issue, acceptable to all stakeholders, including the Kashmiris, can be found.

Dr. Tahir Ashraf holds a Ph.D. in International Relations from the University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, and extensively writes on global issues. He is affiliated with the Department of International Relations, Bahauddin Zakariya University, Multan. and can be contacted at tahirmian1@bzu.edu.pk.  

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.