Farooq Abdullah said issues in two regions of UT are different from each other
Had anyone in J&K or even in the rest of India, nay the world, ever thought that a senior most Kashmir-based politician belonging to Kashmir’s oldest religio-political organization will so candidly and so honestly reflect on the nature of contradictions in the perceptions between the people of Jammu province and Kashmir? The answer is, undoubtedly, a big NO. But it did happen much to the happiness, coupled with an element of pleasant surprise, of the people of the UT of J&K, especially the oppressed, suppressed, exploited, subjugated, humiliated, taunted, discriminated against, and fleeced people of Jammu province.
I am not referring to the aspirations and contradictions between the people of the two regions between 1846 and 1947, when the Kashmiri leadership launched one movement after another, including the “Quit Kashmir Movement” in 1946, against the Dogra Maharajas aimed at getting independence from the Jammu Kingdom on the ground that the Dogras had “purchased from London the life, honour, and dignity of Kashmiri Muslims for rupees 75 lakh”. I am only referring to the July 11 very honest confession of NC president and three-time J&K CM Farooq Abdullah that there was nothing whatsoever that’s common between the people of Jammu province and Kashmir and that his Jammu-based unit had the right to put forth demands which satisfied the urges of the people of Jammu province, Duggar Pradesh.
It bears recalling that on July 6, the Kashmir-based members of the NC delegation had asked the Delimitation Commission at Lalit Hotel that the assembly constituencies must be delimited based on population alone.
What exactly did Farooq Abdullah say on July 11, 2021, at Srinagar in the presence of his son Omar Abdullah and other Kashmir-based NC leaders? He unambiguously, unequivocally, and without mincing words said: “Jammu has separate issues, while Kashmir has separate issues. Why are you (reporters) worried? ” He made this highly meaningful statement no Kashmiri leader had the audacity to make during all these 73 years of the state’s accession to India when media persons asked him about the “criticism by some quarters (in this case People’s Conference of Sajad Lone) that the party’s proposal to the Delimitation Commission in Jammu echoed the BJP demands in framing a new criterion to delimit constituencies”. In other words, he said that the Jammu unit of the NC had the right to echo the BJP’s demands. There can’t be any other meaning of his political statement.
It bears recalling that on July 6, the Kashmir-based members of the NC delegation had asked the Delimitation Commission at Lalit Hotel that the assembly constituencies must be delimited based on population alone. “Population has to be the only norm as has been the practice here in J&K in the past,” the NC delegation told the Delimitation Commission. In contrast, its Jammu unit, on July 8, submitted a memorandum, which urged the Delimitation Commission to delimit the assembly constituencies strictly following the criteria as laid down in the J&K Reorganization Act, 2019.
“We are confident that the Delimitation Commission shall work in the most transparent, judicious, and fair manner providing justice to all in delimiting the constituencies as per the constitutional framework based on the basic tenants of delimitation – population, geography, topography, area, physical features, contiguity, the convenience of administrative units and facilities of easy communication and approachability of public convenience,” the memorandum, inter-alia, said (Greater Kashmir, July 9). The Jammu unit of the NC met with the Delimitation Commission at Hotel Radisson Blue.
A day before (July 10), Omar Abdullah had also made a big political statement during his interview with a Chandigarh-based English language daily. “They (Delimitation Commission) could have waited for the 2021 census,” he said in response to the question concerning the loud clamor in Jammu for delimiting constituencies based on the 2021 census, and not on the “fudged 2011 census figures”. The Ikkjutt Jammu, which boycotted the Delimitation Commission, was the first to oppose the J&K Reorganization Act, 2019, which contemplated delimitation in J&K based on the 2011 census. Thereafter, almost all the Jammu-based political, social, and other organizations started demanding delimitation based on the latest population figures plus other parameters as lay enshrined in the J&K Reorganization Act, 2019.
Now that the NC president Farooq Abdullah has cleared all the cobwebs of confusion by succinctly defining the glaring contradiction between the political life in Jammu and the one that dominates Kashmir’s religio-political scene and Omar Abdullah, like the Jammu-based organizations of all hues, has also vouched for delimitation based on the 2021 census, it’s the most opportune time for the Narendra Modi Government to review its whole policy towards the UT of J&K. What Farooq Abdullah, who also heads the ragtag People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD), said only established that the UT of J&K, as the erstwhile State of J&K consisting of Jammu, Kashmir, and Ladakh, is an unnatural formation and that to maintain the two disparate regions as one political unit would be only to further embitter the already rather embittered relations between the two.
The best course available to the Narendra Modi Government to end the age-old conflict between the two regions and harmonize relations between them accorded the treatment to Jammu accorded to Ladakh in August 2019 and deal with Kashmir separately. Such an approach, if adopted, will benefit the nation, the people of Jammu, and the people of Kashmir. To be more precise, the time to end the 175-year-old unnatural wedlock has come. The sooner the Modi Government seized the opportunity, the better.
1. Text in Blue points to additional data on the topic.
2. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.
 Jammu, Kashmir regions have separate issues: Farooq – Jul 12, 2021, Daily Excelsior
 For delimitation, why couldn’t govt wait for 2021 census? – Jul 11, 2021, The Tribune