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Delimitation exercise meaningless until full statehood is restored to JK: Cong

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Jammu: The Congress on Thursday submitted a memorandum to the Delimitation Commission here and said undertaking a delimitation exercise in Jammu and Kashmir will be meaningless until full statehood is restored to it.

Statehood is imperative for the restoration of the democratic process in Jammu and Kashmir, it said.

The Delimitation Commission, led by Justice (retd.) Ranjana Prakash Desai, arrived in Jammu and Kashmir on a four-day visit on Tuesday to interact with leaders of political parties and officials to gather “first-hand” inputs for the mega exercise of redrawing constituencies and carving out new ones in the union territory.

The Centre abrogated the special status of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir and divided it into two union territories on August 05, 2019.

“Until full statehood for Jammu and Kashmir as part of the Union of India is restored, there would be no meaning for the Delimitation Commission to undertake any exercise,” the memorandum said.

Unfortunately, the meeting called by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Delhi last month gave no concrete assurance in this regard, the Congress delegation led by former ministers Muka Ram and Raman Bhalla said.

“This (statehood) is an essential confidence building measure imperative for the restoration of the democratic process in Jammu and Kashmir. May we at INC point out that until the restoration of statehood for J&K, as demanded in the CWC resolution of 6th August 2019, is completed, the delimitation process commencement will be rendered nugatory,” Bhalla told reporters here.

“The unlawful detention of political leaders and their incarceration for long period without any charges is itself an anathema to the founding principles of democracy under our Constitution,” he said.

The government must end the incarceration of political leadership as a step towards strengthening grassroots democracy in Jammu and Kashmir, he added.

The Congress urged the commission to circulate its draft proposal among all political parties so that they can put forth their suggestions and objections, if any.

It also requested the commission to recognise the genuine aspirations of different sections and areas and consider giving each of them their rightful due, it said.

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