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‘J&K at the cross roads of history’, says NC memorandum to Delimitation Commission in Jammu

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Srinagar: A delegation of the National Conference led by its Jammu provincial president, Devender Singh Rana Thursday called on the visiting Delimitation Commission in the winter capital and presented a memorandum of demands.

Senior NC leaders Surjeet Singh Slathia, Ajay Kumar Sadhotra, Sajjad Ahmed Kitchloo and Javed Ahmed Rana were also part of the delegation, which met the commission.

The J&K Delimitation Commission, chaired by Justice (retd.) Ranjana Prakash Desai is on a four-day visit to J&K.

In the memorandum presented to the commission, the NC leaders said they have been a “strong votary of strengthening democracy and always espouse the cause of the people of Jammu and Kashmir as per their aspirations which are diverse and multidimensional”.

They said “any Delimitation process has a vital role in empowering each constituent to be an equal share holder in the process of democracy so that each one feels empowered and not isolated, disconnected or disempowered”.

The NC leaders said the visiting J&K Delimitation Commission is “unique and its findings can have far reaching consequences in shaping the future of Jammu and Kashmir”.

“History will judge its decision and our role critically and if we fail we shall fail our people and the nation as a whole. We are confident that the Delimitation Commission shall work in the most transparent judicious and fair manner providing justice to all in delimiting the constituencies as per the constitutional framework based on the basic tenants of delimitation -population, geography, topography, area, physical features, contiguity, convenience of administrative units and facilities of easy communication and approachability of public convenience,” reads the NC’s memorandum.

It says that “decentralization should form core of democracy, all regions or sub-regions crave for equal role in the governance where no one should nurture a feeling of subservience or discrimination.

“We are for the singular, inclusive Jammu and Kashmir. Jammu and Kashmir is a model of unity in diversity, but each region and sub-region has its own diverse characteristics and thereby peculiar needs and demands which need to be addressed by the Delimitation Commission in a manner that everyone feels involved and democratically empowered.”

It further said that Jammu region with an area of 26,293 and population of 53,50,811 as per 2011 census, which as per them is the basis of the Delimitation Commission “is a pluralistic society with multi ethnicity, linguistic diversity and has representation of various castes and creeds”.

“Jammu and its sub-regions (whether it is the plains of Jammu or the hills of Poonch-Rajouri or the erstwhile Doda district comprising Kishtwar, Doda and Ramban) feel alienated and have a sense of deprivation,” the NC said in the memorandum.

It urged the Delimitation Commission to “give its due to all parts of Jammu region so that our commitment for the equitable empowerment of all regions and sub-regions does not get dented”.

The NC further said that there were “geographical and topographical challenges in Jammu region and certain areas are far-flung, inaccessible, remote, backward and mountainous.”

There is a need “to address their issues in a manner that they can also be equal partners in the process of democracy by being able to conveniently exercise their franchise.

“Representation, particularly of the far-flung, rural areas must be judiciously decided so that there is accessibility and ease of public delivery to enable effective governance and approachability of public representatives,” the NC said.

It also demanded that Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes of the region “must get adequate and judicious representation”.

“Reservation should be based on settled criterion which should be followed in a transparent manner to ensure that the faith of the people is maintained in the institution of the Delimitation Commission”.

The memorandum says the party is “sure that justice will come to Jammu and Kashmir and to the Jammu region through the Commission”.

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