Srinagar: Demanding full statehood for Jammu and Kashmir as a part of Union of India, the Congress said on Tuesday that initiation of political and democratic dialogue must begin with restoration of civil liberties of political parties and people.
A delegation of the Congress on Tuesday evening met Delimitation Commission headed by Justice (retd) Ranjana Prakash Desai and presented a memorandum.
The Congress memorandum said that in the All-Party Meeting (APM) presided over by Prime Minister and attended by Home Minister on June 24 in New Delhi had assured of adopting a transparent method by the Delimitation Commission right from the State level to the Constituency level. We accept this assurance in the spirit of restoration and strengthening of democratic structures in Jammu & Kashmir.
It said “ restoration of statehood for Jammu & Kashmir is a sine qua non for conducting the Delimitation process. Until the full Statehood for Jammu and Kashmir as part of Union of India is restored, there would be no meaning for the Delimitation Commission to undertake any exercise. Unfortunately, the meeting called by the Prime Minister gave no concrete assurance in this regard. This is an essential confidence building measure imperative for restoration of the democratic process in Jammu & Kashmir. May, we at Congress point out that until the restoration of Statehood for J&K, as demanded in the CWC Resolution of August 6 2019, is completed, the delimitation process commencement will be rendered nugatory”.
The memorandum said the initiation of political & democratic dialogue in Jammu & Kashmir must begin with restoration of civil liberties of political parties and people. The unlawful detention of political leaders and their incarceration for long period without any charges is itself an anathema to the founding principles of democracy under our Constitution. The Government must initiate an exercise for undoing the shackles on democratic exercise of rights and end the incarceration of political leadership as a step towards strengthening of grassroot democracy in Jammu & Kashmir. Only then will the delimitation exercise shall have some meaning”.
“The aspiration of people of Ladakh to determine their democratic foundations within the four corners of the Indian constitution must be respected”, the Congress memorandum said.
“Congress exhorts that the draft proposal prepared by the Commission be distributed and circulated among all the political parties for giving suggestions and submitting objections, if any, before the Commission”. The Congress is duty bound to represent the viewpoints, apprehensions and doubts of the masses in general about certain factors and preconceived notions that may be detrimental to the democratic rights”, the Congress said.
It further said people of Jammu and Kashmir have grave apprehensions of preconceived political prejudice governing the commission’s final recommendations with a view to give unfair and undue advantage to a particular political party and to the exclusion of democratic rights of the people for a just and amicable delimitation process and particularly to put the mainstream political parties in a disadvantageous position on account of innate unfairness.
The Congress further said in the memorandum “ It is, as such, incumbent upon the Delimitation Commission, which is a Constitutional body, to stand by the test of equity, equality, fairness and transparency as per the mandate given to it by the Parliament of India and to conduct the delimitation exercise with utmost integrity, in accordance with the established and time-tested principles and without a shade of bias and unfairness towards the ruling party at the Centre”.
The Congress further said that as per the established procedure and precedents, we expect that the draft recommendations of the Commission would be shared with all the political parties for inviting their objections and suggestions with adequate notice and material. The Commission must, then, proceed to grant a fair hearing to Congress and other political parties with an open and judicious mind before finalizing the recommendations, besides the draft recommendations should also be accessible to members of the public so that anyone can give their suggestions in the interest of strengthening the democratic structures.
The memorandum said Congress assures the Commission of its cooperation with a view to restore full Statehood for Jammu & Kashmir.