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PDP decides to stay away from delimitation proceedings

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Writes to Delimitation Commission, says it ‘lacks constitutional, legal mandate’

Srinagar: The Peoples Democratic Party led by former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti on Tuesday decided to not meet the Delimitation Commission, saying the body lacks “constitutional and legal mandate” and is part of the overall process of political disempowerment of people of Jammu and Kashmir.

In a two-page letter written to Ranjana Desai, a retired Supreme Court judge heading the panel, party general secretary Ghulam Nabi Lone Hanjura said the PDP has decided to stay away from the delimitation process and not be part of “some exercise, the outcome of which is widely believed to be pre-planned and which may further hurt the interests of our people”.

The letter started off with highlighting the August 05, 2019 revocation of the special status of the erstwhile state and its bifurcation into two union territories by the Centre.

It said the people of Jammu and Kashmir have been “robbed of their legitimate constitutional and democratic rights” by the abrogation of Article 370 of the Indian Constitution “illegally and unconstitutionally”.

“…We are of the considered opinion that the Delimitation Commission lacks the constitutional and legal mandate in the first place and its very existence and objectives have left every ordinary resident of J&K with many questions,” the letter, which was e-mailed and personally delivered to the commission, said.

The three-member commission began meeting political leaders in the union territory Tuesday.

The PDP also claimed that there are apprehensions that the delimitation exercise is part of the “overall process of political disempowerment of the people of Jammu and Kashmir that the Centre has embarked upon.”

Without naming the BJP, the PDP alleged there are apprehensions that the process is aimed at realising the political vision “of a particular party” in Jammu and Kashmir wherein, like other things, the views and wishes of the people would be considered the least.

“It is a widespread belief that contours and outcome of the exercise are pre-planned and the exercise per say is a mere formality. The very intent is under question,” it said.

The PDP said despite “the utter humiliation of the people of J&K, undermining of our constitutional and democratic rights, vilification and incarceration of political leadership and ordinary citizens” did not come in the way when Prime Minister Narendra Modi convened an all-party meeting on June 24.

“We didn’t let our hurt come in way of what could have been an initiation of reconciliation process aimed at restoring the rights of people of J&K. Hence, we participated in the meeting,” the letter said.

During the meeting, the PDP, which was represented by Mehbooba Mufti, emphasised on the need to reach out to the people of Jammu and Kashmir and suggested specific confidence building measures that could lead to breaking the ice in the process of addressing the “massive trust-deficit between New Delhi and J&K”.

“We are disappointed to see that after the all-party meeting nothing has moved and no effort has been made to bring ease into the lives of people, giving credence to those, who had in the first instance, called the meeting a mere photo opportunity,” the letter said.

The letter said when they wanted some confidence building measures, the Centre “continued with its daily dictates to the people of J&K including the recent amendment and orders including those making every person a suspect (government employees antecedents verification order) and deepening the divide between the two regions of J&K (the order related to Darbar move)”.

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