India to conduct elections in J&K's POK, reserves 24 seats: Amit Shah

Dec 7, 2023 - 12:45
India to conduct elections in J&K's POK, reserves 24 seats: Amit Shah
India to conduct elections in J&K's POK, reserves 24 seats: Amit Shah

In a significant development, Union Home Minister Amit Shah announced on Wednesday that 24 seats in the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly have been earmarked for representatives from Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK). Shah, while presenting the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Amendment) Bill, 2023 in the Lok Sabha, emphasized the assertion, "PoK is ours."

The Delimitation Commission, established by the Central government to redefine assembly and parliamentary constituencies in Jammu and Kashmir, made the decision to allocate these seats. Minister Shah revealed, "The Delimitation (Commission) went everywhere in J&K. The representatives of several communities, including Kashmiri migrants and people displaced in PoK, had submitted applications to them regarding their representation in the state assembly."

Expressing satisfaction over the Commission's responsiveness, Shah added, "I am happy that the commission has taken cognizance of this, and the (then) Election Commissioner of India has nominated two seats in the state assembly for Kashmiri migrants and one seat for a person displaced in PoK, which has been occupied unauthorizedly by Pakistan."

Shah highlighted the changes in seat distribution, stating, "Earlier there were 37 seats in Jammu (division), now there are 43. Earlier, there were 46 in Kashmir, now there are 47. And 24 seats for PoK have been reserved, Kyuki Woh Hamara Hai (because PoK is ours)." The Union Minister also revealed that the total number of nominated members in the J&K Assembly will now be five.

During the debate on the Jammu and Kashmir Reservation (Amendment) Bill, 2023, and the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Amendment) Bill, 2023, Shah explained that these bills aim to bring justice to those who have suffered injustice. He stated, "This bill is to give rights and representation to the approximately 46,631 families and 1,57,967 people who were displaced in their own country."

In a move toward inclusivity, Shah announced the nomination of two Kashmiri migrants, one of whom must be a woman, and one individual from PoK. This initiative aims to address historical grievances and ensure adequate representation for displaced communities in the region.

The parliamentary debate on these bills underscores the government's commitment to addressing historical injustices and fostering comprehensive representation in the political landscape of Jammu and Kashmir.

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