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Delimitation another step to change J&K’s demographic character, alleges Hurriyat

In rare statement, Hurriyat pulls up Centre for all sorts of administrative 'highhandedness', including sacking people for so-called ‘terror links'
Last Updated : 18 May 2022, 11:15 IST
Last Updated : 18 May 2022, 11:15 IST
Last Updated : 18 May 2022, 11:15 IST
Last Updated : 18 May 2022, 11:15 IST

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In a rare political statement in recent years, Hurriyat Conference, on Wednesday, alleged that the recent redrawing of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K)’s Assembly constituencies was an attempt by the BJP government to change the demographic character of the Muslim majority region.

The moderate faction of the Hurriyat, led by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, in a statement said the recent “brazen” recommendations of the Delimitation Commission is “another step towards implementing demographic change by way of reducing Muslim representation in the conflict-ridden state and gradually changing its Muslim majority character.”

The Commission, headed by retired Supreme Court judge Ranjana Prakash Desai, in its final report earlier this month recommended seven additional constituencies—six for Jammu and one for Kashmir—taking the total number of seats in the Union Territory to 90. It increased the number of seats to 43 in the Jammu division from the earlier 37, and that in the Kashmir Valley to 47.

The Hurriyat, which like other separatist organisations in Kashmir had been nearly silent since August 2019, in a statement said: “Through use of extreme force and intimidation, the state authorities have implemented a complete ban on any form of individual or collective expression by people or the leadership, giving no space and no scope for it.”

“While leadership is jailed…which includes APHC Mirwaiz Umar Farooq (who has been) detained arbitrarily for almost three years now, repression on one side…disempowerment and marginalisation of people of J&K on the other simultaneously continue unabated.”

The Hurriyat also called terminating Muslim employees from government service “vengeance”. Last week, J&K administration sacked three people, including a senior professor of Kashmir University for alleged terror links.

Since 2021, over two dozen government employees, including grandson of the late Syed Ali Geelani, sons of Pakistan-based Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahudin, and tainted deputy superintendent of J&K Police Davinder Singh, who was charge-sheeted by the NIA for providing support to the Hizbul, have been dismissed from service.

According to the Hurriyat’s statement, such terminations are ending the main source of employment for locals. “Arrests of youth or any ‘so called anti-national Kashmiri’, even women, happen on a daily basis. Killing of civilians during operations has again surfaced,” it claimed.

Claiming that people have been silenced by “intimidation”, the Hurriyat statement said: “Local media censorship, harassment and intimidation of journalists and writers gets firmer—the list is endless. Vicious circle of violence related to conflict also continues to claim precious human lives with the likes of young Rahul Bhat and policeman Riyaz Ahmed Thokar which is tragic and very painful.”

The organisation also called for a strike on May 21 and urged the people to visit Eidgah Martyr’s graveyard.

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Published 18 May 2022, 11:14 IST

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