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Friday, January 28, 2022

Gupkar alliance says delimitation panel proposal ‘divisive’, plans Jan 1 protest

The meeting said the proposal “will further divide the ranks of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, deepen their alienation and create a much bigger void between communities and regions’’.

Written by Arun Sharma | Jammu |
Updated: December 22, 2021 3:40:28 am
The PAGD leader also questioned why the delimitation exercise was being carried out separately in J&K, even as the BJP government talked about a uniform system for the country. (File)

The People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) Tuesday described the draft paper of the Delimitation Commission proposing six additional constituencies in Jammu division and one in Kashmir as “divisive” and “not in favour of the people of J&K”.

The PAGD comprises four parties: Farooq Abdullah-led National Conference, Mehbooba Mufti-led People’s Democratic Party, CPI(M) and Muzaffar Ahmad Shah-led Awami National Conference. While the BJP, Congress and Altaf Bukhari-led J&K Apni Party are not part of the alliance, Sajjad Lone-chaired J&K People’s Conference walked out of it in January this year.

Representatives of the PAGD, who met under the leadership of Abdullah at his residence on Tuesday, announced they will hold a peaceful demonstration in Srinagar on January 1 to protest the draft proposals of the Delimitation Commission. The draft paper proposes 43 constituencies in the Jammu division and 47 in the Kashmir valley; nine seats are proposed to be reserved for STs and seven for SCs.

In a statement, the PAGD said, “In our views, this will further divide the ranks of people of Jammu and Kashmir, deepen their alienation, and create a much bigger void between communities and the regions.” The PAGD is of the view Assembly constituencies should have been carved out based on population as per the 2011 Census.

Observing that the new proposal is detrimental to the interests of the people of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh, and that of the country as well, PAGD spokesperson and CPI(M) leader M Y Tarigami said, “All of us here have decided that while we want peace and do not want confrontation with any institution and the government under any circumstances, we will continue to raise our voice in a peaceful manner in every forum in defence of the legitimate rights of the people.”

Pointing out that the Central government should have waited in the matter as many of the PAGD constituents have challenged the J&K Reorganisation Act and the abrogation of Article 370 in the Supreme Court, Tarigami said taking hasty decisions was neither in the interest of the nation nor the people of J&K.

The CPI(M) leader regretted that while the BJP government was advocating a uniform system in the country, it was dealing with J&K in isolation. “We wanted the government to have a census and thereafter delimitation in Jammu and Kashmir along with the rest of the country,” he said, questioning if constitutional and legal provisions were not applicable in J&K.

He said that the National Conference MPs, Farooq Abdullah and Hasnain Masoodi had told the Delimitation Commission on Monday that the draft proposals were not in accordance with the wishes of the people and only served to drive a wedge at the regional and sub-regional level, besides fuelling existing anxieties between communities. “It furthers the BJP agenda to divide people,” he said.

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