The Minister of State for Home Affairs of India, Nityanand Rai, has presented a Bill related to the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday (26 July).
The Bill aims to appoint two members from the 'Kashmiri Migrants' community, who had to leave their homes during the peak of militancy in 1989-90, as members of the Legislative Assembly of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
Notably, one of the members will be a woman.
Additionally, the Bill proposes to nominate one member from the 'Pakistan-occupied Kashmir' community, who were displaced during the wars with Pakistan in 1947-48, 1965, and 1971.
The objective of the Bill is to safeguard their political rights and contribute to their overall social and economic development.
In August 2019, the special status of Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 was revoked by Parliament.
Consequently, the former state was divided into two union territories: Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh (without an Assembly). Since 2018, Jammu and Kashmir has been under central rule, and Assembly elections are yet to be held.
The Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Amendment) Bill, 2023 states that during the peak of militancy in the late 1980s, particularly in the Kashmir division in 1989-90, a significant number of people, including Kashmiri Hindus, Pandits, as well as a few families from the Sikh and Muslim communities, were forced to migrate from their ancestral places of residence in the Kashmir province.
This Bill aims to address the needs of these affected communities.
Initially, all the migrants were relocated to Jammu, and later some chose to move to other parts of the country, such as Delhi, Bengaluru, and Pune.
Numerous representations have been made by the two communities regarding the reservation of seats in the Legislative Assembly to protect their political rights and maintain their identity.
The Delimitation Commission received these representations and has recommended representation through nomination.
The new Bill will follow the guidelines set by Section 15 of the 2019 Act, which focuses on women's representation.
As part of this, the commission has decided to increase the total number of seats in the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly from 107 to 114. For the first time, there will also be a reservation of nine seats for scheduled tribes.
To accommodate these changes, new Sections 15A and 15B will be added to the 2019 Act.
Bhuvan Krishna is Staff Writer at Swarajya.
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