Delimitation in JK: A Politically Motivated Move

We have been experiencing the whole topsy-turvy mischievous discourses prevailing around since decades.

Since 19th century, the state of Jammu and Kashmir has acquired a unique geo-political status in the Indian sub-continent. Its frontiers marching towards post-soviet Central Asian Republics Afghanistan, Pakistan, China and Tibet that deserve constant vigil and as such it has made the State very important. Pakistan’s occupation of Northern Areas of Kashmir gave it tremendous strategic advantages in South Asia as the region shares common boundaries with Xinjiang and Afghanistan, and the Central Asian countries. Besides its strategic and political importance, Pakistan and India both claim Kashmir because of cultural and social reasons. Kashmir has become ingrained in the minds of both Indians and Pakistanis as the single biggest issue facing the Indian subcontinent. The crying need of the hour is to make it a zone of peace, a zone of perpetual peace because offensive and defensive strategy of both nations has put peace in murky state and is still a far sighted dream.

Adding more salt to the wounds which the people of valley are experiencing through the rulers of the day, and bygone have always sighted Kashmir and Kashmiri’s as political and electoral entities, keeping the sentiments at bay. We have been experiencing the whole topsy-turvy mischievous discourses prevailing around since decades and in past few years the escalation amongst such impish affairs has added a spark in the keg. The attacks on our special identity have mounted in past few years and all means are being formulated to scrap and do away with the same. Ironically this identity is being granted and guaranteed to the state under the great ambit of constitution on India, but who cares in contemporary scenario. It apprehends that the rulers of the day treat the great constitution as mere as a paper book, because every passing day the democracy is witnessing a trauma and unfortunately specific community and geography is being embattled. As contextualized above the vulnerability Kashmir valley is witnessing is the result of poor approach and policy frameworks, and this will endure unless and until the bottom to top approach is adopted, respecting the aspirations and selection of proper stakeholders to walk the talk on the Kashmir.

Now adding more fuel to create more hostility amongst the Kashmiri’s is delimitation of assembly constituencies of Jammu region, ignoring the valley and Ladakh in Toto. In India, the main basis for allocation of seats is based on the parameter of Population of the state assembly constituencies which has come up as a stinker to political and a-political spectrums of the state. The division of each state into the territorial constituencies is to be readjusted after the completion of a census so that the Population-Seat ratios maintained within the state and throughout the Union. The current electoral arrangement is based on the 1976 census and it is understood to be the best until the 2031 census is taken up to unfreeze the delimitation across the country. However the constitutional provision assets that each state shall be re-delimited into territorial parliamentary and assembly constituencies on the basis of 2001 census and the extent of such constituencies as delimited now shall remain frozen till the first census to be taken after the year 2026; and the constituencies shall be so re-delimited that population (on the basis of 2001 census) of each parliamentary and assembly constituency in a state shall, so far as practicable, be the same throughout the state.

Now, if we take up the delimitation of electoral constituencies of Jammu and Kashmir into consideration, the state has gone under the electoral changes in 1995 under the aegis of delimitation commission of justice K K Gupta, the seats were increased on the basis of population and the division wise status stands as, Jammu 32, Kashmir 42 and Ladakh 2. It should be sternly noted here that delimitation was done under governors rule, so inculpating regional political forces is gratuitously here.

The delimitation exercise (Jammu Region) that is believed to be under consideration is the first major step that the government is considering is precisely a desperate move to wangle the electoral structure for their peculiar political opulence, and in Toto it can be dubbed as a fiendish passage.

The current day rulers are pushing harder to forcefully and mischievously plant a non-Muslim CM keeping the merit and other important parameters at bay. There is no harm to have a non-Muslim CM but it should be based on the merit, electoral combinations and permutations, keeping aside the malicious practices. If such unseen affair propagates, then with in no time we will witness more alienation and vulnerability amongst the Kashmiri’s, as Kashmir is hitherto going through a tough phase adding more fuel will act as a spark in a powder keg. The rulers of the day need to understand this colloquy, if seriously they are thinking of peace and prosperity in the state particularly in the valley. The regional political and a-political folds hold this responsibility to fight tooth and nail to avoid this impractical affair; a unanimous voice is the need of an hour.

(Author is Research Scholar at Deakin University, Australia)

muneer.magray@terisas.ac.in