Let J&K vote

Resume political and electoral processes

Let J&K vote

Photo for representation. File photo

Jammu AND kashmir has been without an Assembly since November 2018, when the House was unexpectedly dissolved just months after the state was brought under Governor’s rule as the BJP pulled out of the Mehbooba Mufti-led government. Three years after the abrogation of Article 370, elections in the newly created Union Territory are still not on the horizon. The Delimitation Commission report was cited as a precursor to the resumption of the long-stalled political process. The panel completed its two-year-long exercise to redraw the electoral map this May, notifying six additional constituencies for the Jammu region and one for Kashmir. The criticism by the regional political parties that the changes give an unfair advantage to the BJP notwithstanding, the delay in the announcement of Assembly polls is inexplicable.

Much has been made of the record tourist footfall and several other gains on the development front since the revocation of the special status, but the real test lies in restoring the electoral process. The tough stance to contain the separatist sentiment has meant sustained detentions, dismissals from service, attachment of properties and frequent crackdowns. It would be hugely erroneous, though, to hide behind the iron-hand policy to justify depriving people of their constitutional right to choose representatives, and not letting them have their say.

Incidents related to law and order as well as terrorism have come down since 2019 and more than 690 terrorists have been killed in Jammu and Kashmir during the period, but recruitment and targeted killings remain a cause for concern for the security apparatus. Half of the fresh recruits are said to be uncategorised, posing a new challenge when the youth, who otherwise lead normal lives, indulge in acts of terror when directed to do so, before resuming their routine work. The Election Commission has started work on the revised voter list and while restoration of statehood is a demand that may not find immediate resonance, holding elections would require no such predicament. August 5 cannot be remembered as a day of disempowerment.

Tribune Shorts


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