SRINAGAR: A delegation of five Panthers Party leaders led by its President Prof Bhim Singh called on the visiting Delimitation Commission in the winter capital and presented a memorandum of demands.
The Panthers Party delegation included Harsh Dev Singh, Former Education Minister, P K Ganju, Vice President, Anita Thakur, General Secretary, Mohammad Iqbal Chowdhary, Vice President and Paramjit Singh Marshal, Provincial President-Panthers Trade Union.
The Panthers Party presented a memorandum to the Delimitation Commission which included Justice (retd.) Ranjana Prakash Desai, Sushil Chandra, Chief Election Commissioner and Chandra Bhushan, Deputy Election Commissioner.
Prof Bhim Singh addressing the Delimitation Commission for J&K regretted that Ladakh region has been ignored and there is no delimitation fixed for Ladakh. He urged the Delimitation Commission to convey the demand on behalf of the Panthers Party that Ladakh should also have an Assembly as there is Assembly for other Union Territories like Puducherry and NCT of Delhi.
Urging the Delimitation Commission Prof Bhim Singh said that the first priority should be to reduce internal and external tension in J&K. Political discrimination must go. He told the Commission that the Parliament has fixed 90 Assembly seats for J&K. He demanded that the Delimitation should distribute the seats on 50:50 basis, that is 45 Assembly seats for Kashmir province and 45 for Jammu province. He also conveyed to the Delimitation Commission that there has been political tension between the two provinces in J&K mainly because of discrimination in the allotment of Assembly seats. He pleaded that the 50:50 formula shall ease the tension between the two regions and people shall be happy. He said that J&K has suffered at the hands of power in Delhi which is evident from the fact there was no delimitation of the Assembly in 1951, 1971 and 1991.
He also pleaded that Scheduled Tribes (Gujjars, Bakerwals and Gaddies) should be given reservation as has been provided in the law made by J&K. He also pleaded for the shifting of reserved seats for the Scheduled Castes (SC) as their reserved seats have not been rotated for the past three Assembly elections.
Prof Bhim Singh strongly pleaded that Statehood of J&K should be restored without delay and Assembly elections should be held on the ad-hoc delimitation as is available this time.
Harsh Dev Singh, Chairman & former Education Minister strongly argued that delimitation should be held at the earliest and the due reservation should be given to the Scheduled Tribes as well as Scheduled Castes. He also pleaded that free and fair elections should be held and the Panthers Party office bearers need to be provided adequate security during political campaigns in J&K.
Here is the memorandum submitted by Panthers party
The Delimitation Commission.
Jammu & Kashmir,
at Jammu Tawi.
Sub: Memorandum by JKNPP at Jammu
The Jammu & Kashmir National Panthers Party (JKNPP) is grateful to the Hon’ble Delimitation Commission for having invited JKNPP at Srinagar as well as at Jammu.
- The Panthers Party Delegation attending this conference in Jammu today, would like to submit that Jammu & Kashmir is one State and unfortunately has been converted into a Union Territory along with Ladakh region which was an undesirable decision. The Panthers Party stands for Restoration of Statehood of J&K.
- The Panthers Party feels surprised, why the Delimitation Commission for Ladakh region has not been appointed, which was an integral part of the State of J&K till August 5, 2019. Before submitting our representation on the conduct of election and distribution of Assembly seats in J&K, I would like to submit to the Hon’ble Commission that it may kindly note that the area of J&K is only (about 16,000 sq. kms in Kashmir & 26,000 sq. kms in Jammu).
- Nearly 60,000 kms is in Ladakh as 38,000 sq. kms of the territory of Ladakh is under illegal occupation of China. About 36,000 sq. miles of J&K territory in Gilgit and Baltistan under illegal occupation of Pakistan.
4.The Ladakh region has been a constituent part of J&K state since 1846 when Maharaja Gulab Singh founded it, till August 5, 2019. The state included Ladakh, Gilgit and Baltistan also.
5.This is good that the Election Commission of India has appointed Delimitation Commission. All political parties have an opportunity to submit their views to the Delimitation Commission directly. First of all I would like to submit before the Hon’ble Commission to also kindly convey the request of Panthers Party to the Election Commission of India to hold delimitation of Assembly constituencies in Ladakh also.
- There are several Union Territories like Pondicherry, NCT, Delhi and others which have assemblies also. Ladakh is vast territory, nearly 60,000 sq. kms which is larger than the territory of J&K.
- The Panthers Party which is recognized in J&K and Ladakh, strongly appeal to the Govt. of India that Ladakh should have assembly also.
- The Panthers Party delegation would like to submit that the Assembly elections in J&K should be held immediately after the restoration of Statehood of Jammu & Kashmir.
- The JKNPP has been demanding a twin Secretariat in J&K at Jammu and Srinagar both, which has been accepted by the government vis-à-vis Jammu and Kashmir.
- The Delimitation Commission for J&K was appointed a year back which could not take up the work for several reasons. The Delimitation Commission has taken an active stand now and is visiting J&K to record the public opinion as well as that of the political parties.
- The Delimitation Commission is urged to take immediate steps to ensure that regional tension in J&K is diluted. The urgent need is the distribution of Assembly seats between the two provinces, say ‘Jammu and Kashmir’. There has been political tension between Jammu and Kashmir for the reason that delimitation was not held in J&K several times in the past.
- This is a right opportunity for the Delimitation Commission to distribute Assembly seats on 50:50 basis. The Parliament has allotted 90 seats to Jammu and Kashmir on August 5, 2019. This is a right opportunity for all and shall satisfy the electorates in both regions, Kashmir and Jammu. This is on record that Jammu Province has more population than Kashmir region.
- Due to inequitable distribution of Parliamentary constituencies in J&K. Jammu has remained with only 2 Parliamentary seats whereas Kashmir Province 3 seats. This is strongly urged that both provinces, Kashmir and Jammu should be given 3 MPs seats each to end 75 years political in balance between two regions.
- The JKNPP strongly holds the view that 45 Assembly seats are allotted to Kashmir province and 45 to Jammu province. This is the stand of JKNPP which will bring peace and understanding in the State. This will reduce the 75 years’ old tension between the residents of Kashmir and Jammu province for all times.
- So far as Assembly reservation is concerned, SC & ST have been given reservation whereas ST was not provided till date. The Delimitation Commission is urged to ensure that Scheduled Tribes (ST) gets its due representation as is granted by law in J&K. So far as SC is concerned, they are entitled to their share according to the law of the land.
- The reservation of seats has to be changed and the Assembly constituencies which have remained reserved for more than 15 years should be changed and the reserved constituencies should be declared open.
- Several constituencies are having population of more than two lacs like Jammu Rural and other constituencies in Jammu province have more than one lac of population. All the districts in Jammu province should be provided Assembly constituencies having geographical compact, terrain and communication.
- The 45 Assembly seats should be distributed in Jammu province with clear attention towards those constituencies which were created without caring for geographical compact, terrains or population. All districts in Jammu province including Poonch, Rajouri, Jammu, Kathua, Udhampur and Doda sector deserve the attention of the Commission so that the principles laid down in the Constitution and Electoral Laws are followed strictly.
- This formula has to be followed in both the provinces namely Jammu and Kashmir.
- The citizens of Jammu & Kashmir who were born before 2011 and they have turned eligible as voters in 2021 shall be deprived of their voting right if the delimitation is taken on the basis of 2011 Census. Therefore Provisional Delimitation on the basis of population may be taken as is available, so that immediate elections shall be held and peoples’ govt is restored to save the state from further mistrust.
- Thousands of voters have migrated to different areas from Kashmir Province as well as Jammu Province; all of them shall be deprived of their right of votes if the delimitation is taken on the basis of 2011 Census. All the eligible voters holding Electoral Photo Identity Cards should be allowed to vote in the coming election.
- The security of the political activists:- That the Panthers Party in Kashmir as well as in Jammu Province has not been provided security cover, whereas other political parties, even unrecognized in J&K have been provided all security facilities. The Delimitation Commission may take this issue with the Government providing due security to all District Presidents as well as all State level Office-bearers of the Panthers Party in Jammu and Kashmir as well as in Ladakh. This is highly essential that all Districts and the State as well as provincial level Office-bearers of JKNPP should be provided personal security particularly when the Panthers activists shall go in public for interaction during political and election campaigns in Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh.