Finally, sunshine for J&K?

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It seems that the international pressure finally has got its hold over the Modi regime in Delhi. Giving in to the same, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on June 24 last convened a meeting of all parties of Jammu and Kashmir in Delhi. Interestingly, the meeting delved over delimitation, elections, and then granting of statehood back to the Union Territory. Subsequently, a Delimitation Commission headed by retired Supreme Court judge Ranjana Desai toured both Kashmir and Jammu where they even met with dozens of delegations. Though the visit caused some discomfort among Kashmir-based parties like the National Conference, People’s Democratic Party, and the People’s Conference, many are also of the opinion that this move gives a fresh start to both Jammu and Kashmir. For instance, there was no reservation of assembly seats for STs under Article 35A and 370, whereas now after the statehood is granted, at least 10 seats will be reserved for the STs. Such changes will bring the much-needed representation of the backward communities in J&K.
While the provincial units of the National Conference led by Farooq Abdullah and his son Omar Abdullah did seem to be talking in favor of the BJP regarding the entire delimitation process, PDP’s Mehooba Mufti decided to stay away from the delegation. J&K seems to be divided over the matter. A section believes that the Article 35A and 370 were the only means to protect the local interests, others are of the opinion that this is a positive restart for J&K. Meanwhile, the Jammu unit of NC submitted a memorandum, in which it stated, “We expect the commission to work transparently to delimit constituencies on the basis of basic tenets of delimitation such as population, geography, physical features, facilities of communication, etc. This Delimitation Commission must give its due to all parts of the Jammu region so that our commitment for the equitable empowerment of all regions and sub-regions does not get dented.”
There has been a long going cold war among the people from Jammu and Kashmir. The delimitation process must aim to look into the interests of the people from both regions. Many locals maintain that Kashmiris and Jammuites are in no way similar – culturally, ideologically, geographically, or politically. They opine that though the delimitation process is a welcome call for all, it must also be executed properly. Referred to as ‘Heaven on Earth’ J&K has been engulfed in violence and political turmoil since independence. Nevertheless, the call for delimitation and statehood in Jammu and Kashmir is a move in the positive direction for its people. The delimitation and subsequent granting of statehood to J&K will give the region an equal opportunity to prosper and develop as well as will give equal and productive representation to its native population. As for the BJP, the granting of statehood and democratic elections in the region will send out a strong and positive message to the international community, especially to India’s neighbors. Both Pakistan and China must also, be keeping a close eye over the developments in J&K. The BJP would also be hoping to be a part of the first ruling state government, which would further its strength in the region.

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