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New Kashmir Policy Paving Way For Delimitation Process Being Mooted At Home Ministry: Sources

Written By Aishwaria Sonavane | Mumbai | Published:

Promptly after taking charge at the helm of the Ministry of Home Affairs, Amit Shah has over the last two days held multiple meetings, with sources telling Republic TV of Jammu and Kashmir being the crux of deliberations. 

In a recent polity development, sources have told Republic that the Home Ministry considering amending Delimitation, thus bestowing more power upon the Governor of Jammu and Kashmir, and paving the way for a process of delimitation.

However, in back 2002, NC president Farooq Abdullah's government chose to freeze delimitation process until 2026 by amending the Jammu & Kashmir Representation of the People Act 1957 and Section 47(3) of the Constitution of Jammu & Kashmir.

The amended Section 47(3) said, "that until the relevant figures for the first census taken after the year 2026 have been published, it shall not be necessary to readjust the total number of seats in the Legislative Assembly of the State and the division of the State into territorial constituencies under this sub-section"

The Delimitation process will involve redrawing the scope and size of Assembly constituencies in the state and will further determine the number of seats to be reserved for Scheduled Castes (SC).

This step will allow the Governor to set up a Delimitation Commission. The Modi 2.0 Cabinet is revisiting the files that were previously stalled, as per inputs. 

The last time a delimitation process undertook in the state was also under President's Rule, back in 1995 by the Justice (retd) K.K. Gupta Commission. Incidentally, the Constitution provides for delimitation every 10 years, the next delimitation of Assembly constituencies should have ideally taken place in 2005.

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According to sources, high-level meetings are being held ever since Amit Shah official took charge in the Home Ministry, along with senior officials including the NSA, Home Secretary, the IB chief, RAW chief, and Army officials along with the Governor of Jammu and Kashmir Satya Pal Malik.

The Governor of the state has reportedly submitted an extensive document on the situation in the valley to Home Minister Amit Shah at the third meeting conducted by the Ministry of Home Affairs in New Delhi on Kashmir. 

According to sources, the 3-page long note submitted to the Home Minister encompassed the five points, focusing on the law and order situation, the religious Amarnath pilgrimage, the developmental work in the valley and to cater to the needs to the Kashmiri people. 

1. Law and order situation in the state
2. Preparation for the Amarnath Yatra
3. Developmental work in the valley
4. Prime Minister developmental project for Kashmir
5. Needs of the Kashmiri people. 

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Throughout the election campaign, the BJP chief had reiterated that the party would abrogate Article 370 and 35A from the state, which also found space in BJP's manifesto. However, there was no confirmation whether the issue was discussed in the first Home Ministry meeting. 

On May 1, Shah had mentioned that there would be an iron fist approach to ensure zero tolerance towards terror and cross-border infiltration, holding firm on the party's stand towards national security, which had also become one of the foundations of the BJP's Lok Sabha 2019 election campaign. 

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