Doda NC Submits Memorandum To Delimitation Commission: Read the Document

SRINAGAR: The National Conference in the Doda district has sent a detailed memorandum to the Delimitation Commission highlighting the issues located in the proposed reorganisation of the new assembly segments in the district. The district was having two berths in the assembly and the Commission has given it a third berth by splitting the main Doda town. The document is signed by Zafrullah Rather, Khalid Najeeb Suharwardy, Sarshad Natno, Dr Chaman Lal, Mohammad Iqbal Bhat, Riyaz Ahmad Zarag and Ved Prakash Gupta. It bears the date of February 12, 2022.

Doda town, an aerial view

Here follows the text of the memorandum:

“Draft proposal for the delimitation of Legislative Assembly Constituencies and redrawing of the Parliamentary Constituency boundaries has come into the public domain. The draft that has come out though is ambiguous and lacks of clarity yet what has been proposed for the district Doda sans basic logic, constitutional morality and moral sanctity.

That cursory look at the composition of the three proposed constituencies viz 51-Bhaderwah, 52-Doda and 53-Doda west makes it abundantly clear that the very established parameter even by the yard sticks of the Re-Organization Act have been totally ignored. Neither Population ratio nor geographical alignment nor contiguity of the areas have been made the basis.

All the constituencies have been proposed is the breach of constitutional and legal parameters. The proposed constituencies san logic and propriety as there is deep discontent and unrest in the whole population of the district Doda particular and whole Chenab Valley in general about their electoral future and reach of the legislatures to respected constituencies. There is a deep feeling of anguish among the masses that whole exercise has been done at the behest of the workers of a particular political party to suit their divisive electoral politics.

Credence to this feeling is given by the facts on the ground. Chenab Valley as a whole and district Doda, in particular, has a composite population of various communities. The population ratio of Hindu’s and Muslim’s are so mixed that it is impossible to segregate them from one another. The whole region is mountain locked with a cluster population where Hindu’s and Muslims live side by side in each village. But what has come to the fore that people have been divided purely on communal lines segregating Hindus from Muslims, totally ignoring geographical alignment, topography and contiguity. Thereby compartmentalizing people on a communal basis.

Few small examples to highlight this moral bankruptcy is that while carving out 52-Doda constituency towards the east of the Doda town including the Municipal Council area, Jodhpur, Dhara and Kalih and PC’s have been taken out from the centre of the far east of the 52-Doda constituency and have been shown to be part of 53-Doda west Constituency which has no geographical contiguity with 53-Doda West rather is a natural part of 52-Doda on its fast far eastern side.

In the same manner Tehsil Thathri which is yet again eastern side of 52-Doda has been divided into two parts illogically and this east most area of the Hindu dominated villages have been made part of 52-Doda. Needless to mention Tehsil Thathri is one unit and is far from 53-Doda West having two complete Tehsils of Bhella and Chiralla in between.

In the same manner Chilly PC of 51-Bhaderwah constituency has been cut out from the centre of 51-Bhaderwah constituency and made part of 52-Doda Constituency and from the Kahara Tehsil in the Bhalessa area the Joura PC having population of a particular community have been made the part of 51-Bhaderwah Constituency and the same area having another community have been made part of 52-Doda Constituency.

Without prejudice to what has been submitted hereinabove bare overview the whole Chenab region by any prudent mind understand that whole Chenab region comprising of three districts of Doda, Kishtwar and Ramban is one geographical mountain locked areas having the same topography from Banihal, up to Marwah, Warwan and Dachan. The population in all these areas resides in mountains and it is palpable from commission’s draft proposal that how discriminately and arbitrary illogically constituencies have been proposed e.g, with two lakh population in Kishtwar District three Constituencies have been proposed whereas District Doda having more than double the population yet again only three constituencies have been proposed.

Even Ramban District has three lakh population at least more than one lakh from Kishtwar district having only two constituencies. If this is not discrimination and violation of the mandate of the Constitution, what else could be?

To further highlight it is to mention here that one Constituency for the Padder has been proposed for just fifty thousand population for apparent obvious reasons. It is worthwhile to mention here that Padder has fully black toped road with only one and half hour driving from Kishtwar. If the inaccessibility is the criteria for making Paddar as a constituency than Paddar in comparison to Marwah, Warwan and Dachchan areas of Kishtwar District is by no means inaccessible than Marwah, Warwan and Dachchan are the remotest areas not only of district Kishtwar but in the whole State which are yet to be connected through road and people to these areas have to move on foot and it takes at least one day to reach to the area. Yet this Paddar constituency has been carved purely on the communal lines to benefit a particular political party throwing dust in eyes of the whole system on the alibi inaccessibility.

It is further humbly prayed that commission will take in to consideration ground realities and facts submitted herein above “albeit briefly” and review the draft proposal of constituencies by adhering Constitutional and legal parameters. It is further prayed that the constituencies are proposed not on the basis of the communal ratio but by taking into consideration equal ratio of population for each constituency making a constituency in geographical alignment and without breaking contiguity of the area.

These instances are small examples of how the geographical contiguity and alignment has been thrown in to river Chenab and how Tehsils, PC’s, Panchayats and even villages have been fragmented and broken into the pieces to divide constituencies purely on communal lines which raises the serious questions about the credibility and intent of the Commission and how the commission have become the tools in the hand of communal forces which is unacceptable and will have far reaching negative impact on the whole democratic process and democratic institutions.

For the ready reference of the commission map of district Doda is attached herewith which highlights serious manipulations having been done by those who have fed the data to the commission.  The whole process is violation of mandate of the commission and the governing principles of the delimitation process. We hope that commission will review its proposal and do a fresh exercise by correcting the geographical alignment and propose the constituencies on the basis of contiguity of the areas and not on the communal basis.

It is hoped that commission will give a kind consideration and have a passionate look into whole issue and ensure that feeling of the anguish of the general population thereby upholding the sanctity of the mandate of the Commission.”

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