Press Trust of India

Grant reservation to neglected groups: BJP to Delimitation Commission

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Sikh body also sought reservation for Sikhs

Jammu: A delegation of the BJP’s Jammu and Kashmir unit on Thursday met the Delimitation Commission here and demanded the unfreezing of the 24 assembly seats falling in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir to grant reservation to people displaced from PaK, Kashmir Pandits, SCs and STs.
Led by J-K BJP president Ravinder Raina, the delegation also sought adequate representation for Jammu in the assembly.
The Delimitation Commission, led by Justice (retd) Ranjana Prakash Desai, arrived in Jammu and Kashmir on a four-day visit on Tuesday to interact with leaders of political parties and officials to gather “first-hand” inputs for the mega exercise of redrawing constituencies and carving out new ones in the union territory.
Once the delimitation exercise is completed, the number of assembly seats in Jammu and Kashmir will go up from 83 to 90.
Twenty-four seats of the assembly continue to remain vacant as they fall under PaK.
“We demanded political reservation for POJK refugees by unfreezing the eight assembly seats from the POJK quota, three seats for Kashmiri Pandits, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and other neglected people. Jammu, too, must get adequate representation in the assembly,” Raina told PTI.
The BJP delegation that met the commission included former deputy chief ministers Nirmal Singh and Kavinder Gupta, BJP chief spokesperson Sunil Sethi and former legislator R S Pathania.
Meanwhile, Sikh body, All Parties Sikh Coordination Committee (APSCC) has impressed upon the Chairperson of Delimitation Commission to deliver justice to the Sikh community and ensure that Sikhs get representation in the form of reservation in legislature of Jammu & Kashmir.
The demand was made by a delegation of APSCC members principal Naranjan singh, Ajit Singh mastana,P.S. Bali and Indumeet Singh met the members of Delimitation Commission in Srinagar. The delegation led by APSCC Chairman, Jagmohan Singh Raina presented their point of view in a resolute manner and said that over the past seven decades or so the Sikhs of Jammu & Kashmir have been denied representation by the successive central and erstwhile state governments.
“Since you have been a judge and delivered justice to the deserving, time has come that you should do the same with the Sikhs living in Jammu & Kashmir. We have been denied representation in the legislature and it is due to this reason that the burning issues confronting the community have not been addressed so far,” said Raina while pleading the case of the community before Justice (Retd) Desai.
The APSCC Chairman said that politicians at the centre as well as in Jammu & Kashmir have ditched them and as such there in trust deficit. He said the members of the community have pinned their hopes on the Chairperson since she has been a judge and delivered justice to the people.
“We are living in a jungle without any political representation and a reservation for the community would go a long way in fulfilling the political aspirations of the community members. Neither the erstwhile state government nor the central government has ever thought of giving political representation to Sikhs in Jammu & Kashmir. Five seats; three in Jammu division and two in Kashmir valley should be reserved for Sikhs,” said Raina.
The APSCC Chairman said that Sikhs are living in scattered areas spread over 126 villages in Jammu & Kashmir. He said that once some seats are reserved for the community, Sikhs would be able to elect their own person who can then go on to project their demands and solve the burning issues confronting the community.
Raina said that minorities of Jammu & Kashmir should be given a chance to have a representation in the legislature adding that any formula based on population or area cannot be applied rigidly to every place. He said that APSCC will continue to fight for the rights of the Sikh community including political representation in the legislature.
The APSCC Chairman has appreciated the concern of former Sikh MLAs, MLCs and others including intelligentsia towards the issues of the community as a whole. He welcomed the move of these people to join hands and present the issues in a forceful manner. He said that unity among Sikhs would force the people at helm to reserve five seats; three in Jammu division and two in Kashmir. (with inputs from PTI)

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