Srinagar: The GCC (Group of Concerned Citizens) J&K Wednesday said that for the purposes of “delimitation” reference to the population is to be construed as population determined by the 2011 Census of the J&K Reorganisation Act ‘2019.
The group recommended that “other factors’’ to be employed for ‘delimitation’ as laid down in Section 60(2) of the J&K Reorganisation Act’ 2019. It also mentioned that constituencies in which seats are reserved for the scheduled castes and the scheduled tribes shall, as far as practicable, be located in areas where the proportion of their population to the total population is the largest. It further advocates that the position at National-level again brings out preponderance of the population factor in the delimitation of Parliamentary Constituencies without any weightage whatsoever to the ‘Total Area’ of a particular state as a whole.
The GCC said Of the total state population of 125 lakh (Census 2011), 6.05 lakh persons have returned such mother tongues as are neither prevalent nor spoken in J&K, nor specified as ‘regional languages’ in the Constitution of the erstwhile state. A natural and logical deduction is that they could be non-state-subject employees of GoI departments and other agencies.
“Census 2011 reports their intra-state distribution as 32223 in Ladakh,
1,65,083 in Kashmir and 4,03,024 in Jammu Division with mother tongues like Assamese, Bengali, Bodo, Gujarati, Kannada, Konkani, Maithili, Malayalam, Manipuri Marathi, Nepali, Odia, Santali, Sindhi, Tamil, Hindi, Urdu etc,” it said.
The group futher mentions that Electoral Rolls (2018/19) of the twin Districts of Leh & Kargil present a loud and lucid case-in-the-point as barely 50(35 in Leh & 15 in Kargil) came to be registered as Voters from the aforementioned bracket of 32,223 persons with non-J&K-specific mother-tongue. It said voters and their numbers do not constitute a criterion in determination of the delimitation.
“Generally speaking, 35 to 40 % of the total population account for the 0 to 18
age group and, in a scenario such as this, the number of Voters may not exceed 60% of the population except where average life-span may be beyond 70 and the rate of infant mortality the lowest,” it said in its memorandum . The group further states that J&K represents an excellent example of unity in diversity. Otherwise its 04 constituent Units have nothing in common except for the administrative structure and system that has its genesis in the formation of the State way back in 1846. ” The premise of an Administrative Division or a territorial region being taken as a Unit is alien to the law of delimitation and therefore repugnant to the context,” it said .
The GCC mentioned that even after Census 2011, the discrepancy/dichotomy in the data on “migrant population” remains unresolved. The Census reflects 1,16,750 “Kashmiri-speaking” population “outside the State” with 91,733 and 7203 of such population spread out in the Districts
of Jammu and Udhampur respectively.
“Contrary to their population, the number of migrant Voters is 93,373 only. On the matrix of 60:40 (but higher than the national average due to factors of life expectancy and low infant mortality) the migrant population meriting inclusion in the demography of Kashmir Division would work out to 1,35,190,” it said .
The GCC states that since the migrant population is to be included and indexed with the population of Kashmir division for being registered as Voters, the population of Kashmir Division would, in consequence, increase to 70,23,665 from 68,88,475 (excluding the migrants settled outside the State and not registered as Voters in the local Electoral Rolls.While population of Jammu Division gets reduced to 52,36,348 from 53,71,538 by excluding the Kashmiri population of Jammu and Udhampur Districts.
“The West Pakistani refugees & Displaced Persons from Pakistan-controlled Kashmir are spread in seven districts of Jammu division and are so accounted for in the population of Jammu division as indicated above,” the GCC said. It further advocates that ‘delimitation’ may be conducted on an intra-district basis except where going beyond may be inevitable like, for instance, in Rajouri and Poonch Districts. ” The number of existing Assembly Segments may not be disturbed, as far as reasonably possible. Towards
that end, appropriate adjustments with the adjoining Constituencies in the natural region may be considered,” the group said . The GCC says that five parliamentary constituencies in J&K may broadly be retained in the present form. However, in case their delimitation becomes inevitable so as to bring about uniformity in the population per parliamentary constituency.
It further says that carving out a tribal Parliamentary constituency comprising the districts of Poonch, Rajouri, Reasi, and Udhampur may be considered to address the concerns and constraints of such historically disadvantaged sections of society.
The GCC said with coming into being of a separate ‘Tribal’ Parliamentary constituency, the three Districts of Jammu, Samba and Kathua would constitute the (existing) Jammu Parliamentary Constituency.The group members hoped that the learned Commission will give due consideration to the observations
and suggestions of the concerned citizens.
Earlier delimitation of Assembly Constituencies in J&K was last conducted in 1995 (during President’s Rule) by a Delimitation Commission headed by Justice K.K.Gupta. As recommended by the Commission, the number of seats in the Legislative Assembly was increased from 76 to 87 and distribution thereof made on the basis of population across the state except for Leh and Kargil Districts where the number of Assembly segments was increased from one each to two
each on the basis of distinct and unique geographical factors separating the two Districts from rest of the state.