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Delimitation Commission meets public, civil society groups in Srinagar

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Winds up two-day visit to UT

Srinagar: The Delimitation Commission, which was on a two-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir to meet public and civil society groups for receiving suggestions and objections on its draft proposal, on Tuesday held discussions with scores of representatives and individuals here.

Scores of individuals and groups including from many political parties, and Panchayati Raj Institutions members, met the commission which has been tasked to redraw the boundaries of Assembly and Parliamentary constituencies in Jammu and Kashmir.

On Monday, the commission, headed by Justice (retired) Ranjana Prakash Desai, had meetings with public, civil society groups and political parties from all districts of the Jammu region.

The commission met delegations in two sittings. The first was from 10 am to 12 noon where people from Srinagar, Budgam, Anantnag, Kulgam, Pulwama and Shopian met the commission.

The second sitting was from 12 noon to 2 pm during which people from Ganderbal, Bandipora, Kupwara and Baramulla participated.

The members of the public and political parties raised various demands in terms of carving out new assembly segments and also raised objections about the draft in which various areas have been merged with other areas of Assembly and Parliamentary constituencies.

In response to the draft delimitation proposal published in Gazette of India (extraordinary) and in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir Gazette on 14th March, 2022, around 400 suggestions/representations with 4000 signatories were received by the commission till 21st of March, 2022, an official press release informed.

It said the commission decided to provide personal hearing to all these delegations, both in Jammu as well as Srinagar so that the public can directly interact with the members of the commission and present their suggestions before them.

During the public sittings, the main points of all the representations were read out and the concerned delegations were given opportunity to highlight any additional points for the consideration of the commission, the press release said.

It said the general public, public representatives, social workers and members of political parties utilised this opportunity and highlighted their demands/suggestions/grievances before the commission which were duly noted by the commission.

The commission informed the participants that the delimitation exercise of Jammu and Kashmir has been carried out by the commission in a record time of two years despite the prevalence of Covid-19 pandemic in the country. It further noted that the entire exercise has been carried out as per the provisions of the Delimitation Act 2002 and the J&K Reorganization Act 2019, keeping in view population, public conveniences, communication facilities, geographical compactness of the areas as well as the existing administrative boundaries while delimiting the constituencies.

It was also mentioned that the commission is mandated under the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act 2019 to increase the Assembly constituencies from existing 83 to 90. The commission for the first time in the history of Jammu and Kashmir has proposed to reserve nine seats for the Scheduled Tribes and in addition to it, seven seats have been proposed to be reserved for Scheduled Castes.

Meanwhile, Apni Party state secretary, Muntazir Mohi-ud-Din, who met the commission, said the commission’s draft proposal has created inconvenience to people in many areas.

“Some areas have been cut off from their constituencies and joined with others, which has created problems for the people. We had already given representations to the commission through the deputy commissioners of the concerned districts, as well as to the Delimitation Commission and the Election Commission. We have raised the issue of many areas being joined with far away constituencies across the UT. We want them to be reconsidered,” he said.

The Apni Party leader said the party has also demanded an increase of an Assembly constituency in Srinagar as the city has a huge population.

He said the approach of the commission was positive.

“They had called us today to discuss those issues. We raised our issues, we feel the approach of the commission is positive and we hope that our issues will be taken care of,” he told reporters outside the venue.

A civil society delegation from Budgam said they received a good response from the commission on their issue.

“I represent Halqa Gudsuthra A and B. The halqas have been clubbed with Chrah-e-Sharief by the commission. But, we are nearer to Chadoora constituency, so, we requested them to club us with Chadoora rather than Chrar-e-Sharif. We have got a good response from the commission,” Ghulam Mohammad Mir, from Budgam, said.

However, many individuals said they were not allowed inside the venue despite being invited for the discussions.

Ali Mohammad, Sarpanch from Litter area of Pulwama said while he was called for the meeting, but he was not allowed inside the venue.

“They do what pleases them, this is just for formality,” he said.

The Commission was set up on March 06, 2020, with one year term. However, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, its term was extended on March 06, 2021, by one year.

On March 14, it put its report in the public domain and invited objections and suggestions from people. The commission has published its report in the gazettes of India as well as Jammu and Kashmir. (With PTI inputs)

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