Ahead of Delimitation Commission meeting, Kashmiri Pandits push for reservation in Legislative Assembly
Srinagar: Post abrogation of Article 370, migrant Kashmiri Pandits have asked the government to reserve five seats for the minority community in the Legislative Assembly of Jammu and Kashmir Union Territory.
On the eve of the first meeting of the Delimitation Commission, senior Kashmiri Pandit leader and BJP’s political affairs committee in-charge Ashwani Kumar Chrungoo submitted a memorandum to minister in the PMO Dr. Jitendra Singh demanding five seats to be reserved for minority community in the new Legislative Assembly.
“There has to be a forward march towards ending discrimination with the people of the UT through the intervention of the Delimitation Commission now. There can’t be two opinions about the facts of discrimination and bias against the region of Jammu in respect of delimitation earlier which allotted three seats to the Kashmir valley and two seats only to the Jammu region for the Parliament in addition to giving 46 Assembly seats to Kashmir valley and 37 seats to Jammu division. This was and remains a violation of the fundamental rights in terms of equality and equal opportunities,” said Chrungoo, who is the former President of Panun Kashmir.
He said the issue of the representation of the Kashmiri Pandits, through Delimitation of constituencies is an important part of the road ahead in Jammu and Kashmir and there are expectations that the “discrimination with a large portion of the population in the UT will come to an end by a judicious Delimitation process and report in the near future”.
“Kashmiri Pandit community, which is living as refugees in its own country for the last more than three decades now has remained unrepresented all along due to gerrymandering of constituencies in the valley. A fervent appeal is made to the Delimitation Commission to exercise its powers to send such a recommendation to the President and the government of India that settles the unsettled issue of politically important concern of the Kashmiri Pandit community. It will also help in paving way for the resettlement of the community in the valley, eventually, as per their geopolitical aspirations in the days to come,” he said.
Demanding five seats be reserved/nominated for the minority community in the Legislative Assembly, he said one seat each should be reserved in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha
“Pudducherry Assembly, which has an arrangement for three nominated seats, in this context, is a guiding and leading example. You are humbly requested to put this memorandum before the Commission in its meeting on February 18 on behalf of the Kashmiri Pandit displaced community,” he said
Official figures reveal that around 41,117 migrant families from Kashmir are registered in Jammu, and 21,000 others in Delhi and other states. Of the total migrant families living in Jammu, 37,128 are Hindus, 2,246 Muslims, and 1,758 Sikhs.
There are 808 Kashmir Pandit families comprising 3464 people residing in the valley. Non-migrant Kashmiri Pandits are living in 292 locations and most of them are putting up in four districts of south Kashmir.
The return of the Kashmiri migrants to the valley was a part of 2008 Prime Minister’s financial package of Rs 1618 crore. Under this package, Rs 7.5 lakh financial assistance was to be given to any family which will undertake renovation/reconstruction of their houses located in the valley. Besides other things, nearly 6000 government jobs were to be provided to Kashmiri Pandits in the valley.