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Gupkar Alliance Terms Delimitation Exercise Unconstitutional

Anees Zargar |
The alliance has accused the Delimitation Commission of working in favour of the BJP.
Gupkar Alliance Terms Delimitation Exercise Unconstitutional

Image Courtesy: PTI

Srinagar: The People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD), comprising five political parties in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), termed the ongoing delimitation exercise in the Union Territory “unconstitutional” on Saturday and said that the parties will contest elections.  

After a meeting of the alliance members at his residence here, Farooq Abdullah, the president of PAGD and the National Conference (NC), accused the Delimitation Commission of working in favour of the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP).

The Delimitation Commission is working in favour of the BJP thinking it will get the majority of seats in the Assembly and pass a resolution supporting the Centre’s August 5, 2019, decision,” Abdullah said after the meeting, which was also attended by Peoples Democratic Party leader Mehbooba Mufti, NC’s Hasnain Masoodi, Awami National Conference’s Muzaffar Shah and CPI(M)’s MY Tarigami.

Stating that the NC will fight elections in any case, Abdullah said that it is too early to comment on whether the PAGD constituents will field candidates jointly. “Let the elections take place. Many people will join us to fight polls,” he said. 

Following the deliberation on several issues, including the fresh proposals and recommendations of the Commission, PAGD spokesperson Tarigami said that the members consider the panel’s set-up “unconstitutional”—something that is an outcome of reorganisation, which is itself “illegal”. “We maintain that the J&K Reorganisation Act is unconstitutional and illegal. We continue to maintain that the August 5, 2019, decision of rolling back Article 370 is unconstitutional. The historic state of J&K was sliced into two halves; it was nothing but the humiliation of every citizen of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh,” he said.  

PAGD leaders said that they have come up with a white paper on the BJP’s claims of development, investment and jobs in the state, which the PAGD believes is “a pack of lies”. “In the white paper, we have clarified whether Article 370 can be rolled back or Article 35A removed. We challenge the J&K administration and the BJP government to counter our white paper with its own white paper. We challenge the BJP government over its claims of providing jobs, investment and development,” Tarigami said. 

The CPI(M) leader said that the alliance was neither against delimitation nor opposed elections but questioned the delimitation exercise. “Delimitation is taking place without Ladakh and seven seats are being increased in J&K—one in Kashmir and six in Jammu. The basic parameters for delimitation are population based on census, topography and accessibility but all these parameters were thrown to the wind,” Tarigami alleged.

The PAGD spokesperson appealed to Indians to “understand the pain of the people of J&K” adding that the government claim of “Naya Kashmir” is based on “falsehood and deceit”. 

Under BJP’s new Kashmir narrative, Tarigami said, “Strict laws like the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act and the Public Safety Act are being implemented and arbitrary arrests are made to suppress people’s voices, especially those opposing the government’s policies. Every section of J&K, “whether activists, journalists or mainstream parties”, is facing repression.” 

Terming the August 5, 2019, decision as “forced”, Tarigami said, “Don’t misconstrue the silence of the people of Kashmir, Jammu or Ladakh as acceptance of the decision. J&K is facing an assault. It could set a bad precedent and the situation tomorrow might not be favourable for the people of states like Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh or Maharashtra”.  He appealed to the “intelligentsia, civil society, the press and others to understand the pain of Kashmiris”.

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