One Seat in J&K Assembly to be Reserved for Displaced Persons from PoK, Says Amit Shah


Union home minister Amit Shah on Wednesday said one seat in the Jammu and Kashmir assembly will be reserved for displaced persons from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. Two bills — the Jammu and Kashmir Reservation (Amendment) Bill, 2023 and Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Amendment) Bill, 2023 — were passed by the Lok Sabha, a day after they were introduced.

Calling them the “naya Kashmir” bills in the Lok Sabha, Shah said they will give justice to those deprived of their rights for the last 70 years and asserted that reservation to the displaced people will give them a voice in the legislature. The opposition went up in arms and the Congress staged a walkout after he said Jammu and Kashmir had suffered due to two blunders committed by former prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru — first announcing ceasefire and then taking the Kashmir issue to the United Nations.

“I stand in the House and say responsibly that Kashmir suffered for several years because of the two blunders during the tenure of PM Jawaharlal Nehru. The biggest mistake was that when our forces were winning, ceasefire was announced and PoK (Pakistan-occupied Kashmir) came into existence. Had the ceasefire been delayed by three days, PoK would have been a part of India. Second was to take our issue to the UN,” he said.

Speaking about the two bills, Shah further said one of the two seeks to give representation to those who had to leave Kashmir due to terrorism. “One of two bills on Jammu and Kashmir seeks to nominate two Kashmiri migrant community members, including a woman, to the assembly… Earlier there were 37 seats in Jammu, now there are 43. Earlier there were 46 in Kashmir, now there are 47 and in PoK, 24 seats have been reserved since PoK is ours… Two seats will be reserved for Kashmiri migrant community members, and one seat will be reserved for people displaced from PoK. For the first time, nine seats will be reserved for SC/ST communities…” he said.

About the predicament of Kashmiri Pandits, the union home minister said had terrorism been tackled at the beginning without considering vote-bank politics, Kashmiri Pandits would never have had to leave the Valley. “There was an era of terrorism (in Jammu and Kashmir) after the 1980s and it was a horrifying scene. Those who lived on the land considering it their country, were thrown out and no one cared about them, neither did they try to stop it. In fact, they were responsible to stop it, enjoying vacations in England,” he said.

He added: “When they (Kashmiri Pandits) were displaced, they were forced lived as refugees in their own country. Around 46,631 families were displaced in their own country. This Bill is to get them rights, it is to give them representation.”

Slamming the Congress in his speech, Shah further said the party has done the greatest harm to other backward classes while Prime Minister Narendra Modi is trying to correct that by working relentlessly towards their welfare. “I believe the Modi government will return to power in 2024 and, by 2026, I hope there will be no terror incident in J&K,” he said.

At least 45,000 people, Shah said, have lost their lives due to terrorism in J&K so far. The central government’s focus is to end the terror ecosystem in the UT, he said. “This Bill is another addition to the hundreds of progressive changes brought in the country by PM Modi. (The opposition) raised some legal and constitutional issues. First, they said that the law, in which the amendment has brought, itself is challenged in the court. I want to ask (Hasnain) Masoodi, Article 370 was challenged for several years, why didn’t you stop it?” he asked.

The minister said he was glad that no one opposed the bills while deliberating upon them. “There is a difference between granting someone their rights, and granting someone their rights with dignity. The bill that I have brought pertains to bringing justice to and providing rights to those against whom injustice was done, who were insulted and ignored. In any society, those who are deprived should be brought forward. That is the basic sense of the Constitution of India. But they have to be brought forward in a way that doesn’t reduce their respect,” he added.

Shah also lauded the Modi government for revoking Article 370 and said a fair delimitation exercise was a part of this bill. “Our focus is to end the terror ecosystem in Jammu and Kashmir. There was no stone pelting in 2023. After the abrogation of Article 370…cinemas became operational. Today, we can see har ghar tiranga in the Valley,” he added.

On Tuesday (December 5), Shah moved the two bills in the Lok Sabha. They were passed after more than six hours of debate spanning over two days.

The Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Amendment) Bill, 2023 seeks to nominate two members from the Kashmiri migrant community and one representing the displaced persons from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) to the legislative assembly. The Jammu and Kashmir Reservation (Amendment) Bill, 2023 seeks to change the nomenclature of a section of people eligible for quota in appointment and admission.

(With PTI inputs)


Mohd Aman

Editor in Chief Approved by Indian Government

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