Bill in Lok Sabha to increase strength of J&K Assembly by seven to 114 : The Tribune India

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Bill in Lok Sabha to increase strength of J&K Assembly by seven to 114

Bill in Lok Sabha to increase strength of J&K Assembly by seven to 114

Union Home Minister Amit Shah speaks in the Lok Sabha during the winter session of Parliament in New Delhi on Tuesday. PTI



Tribune News Service

Ajay Banerjee

New Delhi, December 5

The Lok Sabha on Tuesday started a discussion on a Bill seeking to amend the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019, which aims to increase the strength of the UT Legislative Assembly from 107 to 114. Nine seats are to be reserved for Scheduled Tribes even as the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Amendment) Bill, 2023, is expected to come up for passage tomorrow.

Reservation for STs, KPs, displaced

  • Bill proposes to reserve seats for Kashmiri migrants, displaced persons from Pakistan-occupied J&K
  • Nine seats are proposed to be reserved for Scheduled Tribes
  • Lt Governor will be authorised to nominate members from the 3 categories to Vidhan Sabha

Ready for poll when EC decides: Minister

The government is ready to hold Assembly polls in J&K whenever the Election Commission takes the final decision, Union minister Jitendra Singh said in the LS.

As Trinamool Congress MP Saugata Roy, referring to the nullification of Article 370 in 2019, said ‘Ek Pradhan, Ek Vidhan, Ek Nishan’ slogan coined by Jana Sangh founder Syama Prasad Mookerjee was “political” in nature, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said Prime Minister Narendra Modi had corrected a decades-old “wrong”.

Shah asserted that the concept of “one flag, one PM, one constitution” was not a political slogan and the BJP firmly believed in the principle and finally implemented it with regard to J&K. “We have been saying since 1950 that there should be ‘Ek Pradhan, Ek Nishan, Ek Vidhan’ (one PM, one flag and one Constitution) in the country... and we did it. How can a country have two PMs, two constitutions and two flags? Those who allowed this were wrong. PM Modi corrected it,” said Shah, who introduced the Bill in the Lok Sabha.

Congress MP Manish Tewari asked if the 2019 Act could be amended in the first place when the Supreme Court’s Constitution Bench was hearing the matter on the reorganisation of the state. He said Parliament should have waited for the Supreme Court’s decision. “The measure adopted by the Lok Sabha on August 5-6, 2019, is not permissible under the Constitution,” argued Tewari. The Congress MP cited Article 3 of the Constitution saying it did not permit splitting a state into two UTs and imposition of the President’s rule. Shah responded again saying “it was the Congress that had started the trend of imposing President’s rule in the country”. Tewari too sought to know when elections would be conducted in J&K. “Will these will be held alongside the Lok Sabha polls in 2024,” he asked.

Speaking in the House earlier, Union Minister Anurag Thakur said stone-pelting incidents were no more reported in Kashmir. “The Tricolour is today hoisted not only at Kashmir’s Lal Chowk, but in every lane of the city.”

Congress MP from Punjab Jasbir Singh Gill urged the Home Minister to reserve seats in the J&K Assembly for Sikhs too, a community that comprised a “microscopic minority” in the UT.

The amendments propose to provide representation to “Kashmiri Migrants”, “Displaced Persons from Pakistan-occupied Jammu and Kashmir” and Scheduled Tribes in the legislative Assembly of the UT. The Bill authorises the Lt Governor to nominate members from the three categories to the Vidhan Sabha.

As per data, there are currently 46,517 families, having 1,58,976 persons, registered in the J&K as “displaced”. Another 31,779 families migrated from Pakistan-occupied areas of J&K in 1947. Of these, 26,319 families are settled in J&K and the rest 5,460 in other parts of the country. Another 41,844 families were displaced during 1947-48, and the 1965 and 1971 India-Pakistan wars.

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