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J&K Delimitation Commission to file recommendations as early as possible: MHA

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The Union Ministry of Home Affairs on Tuesday said that the J&K Delimitation Commission headed by retired Supreme Court judge Ranjana Prakash Desai endeavours to complete the exercise of redrawing boundaries of Assembly and parliamentary constituencies in the union territory “as early as possible.”

According to sources, Minister Of State, MHA, Nityanand Rai, while responding to a question in the ongoing winter session of the Lok Sabha by BJP parliamentarian Satyadev Pachauri, however, did not specify the specific time for the completion of the exercise by the Commission which also comprises of Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra and J&K State Election Commissioner KK Sharma.

“The Government has constituted a Delimitation Commission headed by Justice (Retd.) Ranjana Prakash Desai for delimitation of Assembly and Parliamentary constituencies in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir,” Rai said in a written reply to a question by Pachauri, former Minister from Uttar Pradesh who wanted to know whether any steps have been taken for completion of the work of delimitation at the earliest in Jammu Kashmir by the centre as a result of the meeting held with the “representatives of various political parties of Kashmir recently.”

“The Delimitation Commission has held extensive consultations with various stakeholders like State Election Commissioner of UT of J&K, Chief Secretary, Govt. of J&K, Registrar General of India, Surveyor General of India, District Election Officers of all 20 districts of J&K,” the MoS Home said in the reply.

The Delimitation Commission visited various Jammu & Kashmir from 6th to 9th July this year to “receive inputs from the stakeholders”.

“Commission endeavours to complete the said exercise as early as possible,” Rai said, responding to a specific query by the parliamentarian about the time by which the work delimitation was likely to be completed.

Recently, Home Minister of India Amit Shah said that the first delimitation would take place, elections would be held, and restore statehood will begin.

Under the constitutional scheme before August 5 2019, the delimitation of assembly constituencies fell within powers of the erstwhile State of J&K and under the second proviso to Section 47 of the Constitution of J&K, the redrawing boundaries of the Assembly was to be undertaken once the figures of the first census after the year 2026 are published, meaning thereby census of 2031.

However, as things stand, the freeze on delimitation exercise brought in by the erstwhile government headed by then Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah and upheld by the Supreme Court has been lifted under the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019, the wires of which are under challenge before the top court of the country.

Under Part-V of the ‘Reorganisation Act, redrawing of the assembly constituencies has to be carried through a process defined in Delimitation Act, 2002.

Jammu and Kashmir saw the last delimitation exercise in 1994-95, after 22 years, which increased the number of Assembly constituencies from 76 to 87. As a result, the Jammu region saw an increase of five seats (from 32 to 37 seats), the Kashmir valley an increase of four seats (from 42 to 46) and Ladakh two seats (from two to four).

Post-August 5, 2019 and the split of the State into two Union Territories—J&K and Ladakh—, the complexion of the legislative Assembly changed. Four Ladakh seats were declared void, reducing the strength of the J&K Assembly to 83 from 87. At the same time, the new Act provided for increasing the number of seats to 90.

Section 60 of the Reorganisation Act deals with the exercise and provides, among others, reservation of the seats for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in the Legislative Assembly regarding the “relevant provisions of the Constitution”.

Also, the constituencies in which seats are reserved for the SC and the ST shall, as far as practicable, be located in areas where the proportion of their population to the total population is the largest, according to the Act.

This exercise has been started and is being carried out by a Delimitation Commission, whose orders have the force of law and cannot be questioned before any court. The objective is to redraw boundaries (based on the data of the 2011 Census) in a way so that the population of all seats, as far as practicable, be the same throughout the J&K.

On March 6, 2020, the government of India set up the Delimitation Commission. Their five associate members include National Conference MPs— Farooq Abdullah, Mohammad Akbar Lone and Hasnain Masoodi—besides Union Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office Dr Jitendra Singh, and Jugal Kishore Sharma of the BJP.

Although the Commission was tasked to finish delimitation in a year, on March 4 this year, it was granted a year’s extension. This was done at the request of the commission members since it couldn’t make much progress due to the “Covid-19-induced shutdown across the country.” Moreover, J&K State Election Commissioner KK Sharma was appointed only on October 30 last year, following which he was busy with the District Development Council (DDC) polls in J&K that concluded last December and saw the People’s Alliance For Gupkar Declaration, an alliance of various mainstream parties for restoration of Article 370 and 35A, win big.

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BSF deploys more troops, surveillance equipment along border in J&K as part of ‘winter strategy’

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The Border Security Force (BSF) has deployed additional troops along with anti-fog surveillance equipment on the International Border (IB) in Jammu and Kashmir as part of its “winter strategy” to foil infiltration bids and terror plans ahead of Republic Day celebrations, officials said on Friday.
BSF troops guarding the 200-km International Border (IB) in Jammu and Kashmir have been put on alert to ensure a high degree of security against infiltrating terrorists.
“We have mobilised troops along the border. Extra troops have been deployed along with surveillance equipment along IB in view of the foggy weather and Republic Day celebrations,” a senior officer told.
He said that operations and night domination exercises have increased along the border which witnesses dense fog during winters.
Officials pointed to terrorists using fog as a cover to infiltrate and said the winter strategy that has been put in place includes the measures to deal with security setup during the foggy season.
Troops have plugged all the gaps in riverine areas of Ujh, Bansantar and Chenab, they said.
The steps to beef up the security along the IB have been taken in view of the Republic Day celebrations.
Police have also put up several checkpoints on roads leading to the border and increased checking, they said.
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LeT, Al-Badr Militants Planning To Sneak in JK Via PoK: Intel Agencies Warns

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Amid the heavy snowfall in Jammu and Kashmir, the intelligence agencies have warned that militants from Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Al Badr are planning to sneak into the Union Territory through Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK), sources in the security set-up said.

The sources, quoting intelligence inputs, said that at least seven militants of LeT and five of Al Badra are trying to cross over to Jammu and Kashmir from two different areas located in PoK.

The intelligence alert has specifically said that from one place in PoK, the LeT ultras will be trying to infiltrate with the help of a launchpad commander, while the five Al Badr militants are located near a launchpad in Balakot, who are being escorted by a local guide to infiltrating from the Bhimber Gali side in Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir.

The intel alerts have been shared with the J&K Police, Central security forces and the Army who have been asked to intensify patrolling along the international border adjoining the Bhimber Gali.

“The alert is a matter of major concern for the security forces ahead of the Republic Day, and if they (militants) are trying to cross the international border amid the heavy snowfall, it indicates that they must be equipped with winter clothing and navigational devices,” an official in the security forces deployed in J&K said.

He also said that in recent operations launched by the Central security forces and the state police, the militants who were neutralised had army grade winter clothing and other staff like dry fruits and dry meals. This also indicates that Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) is providing logistic support to these terrorists.

Recent intelligence inputs have also revealed that ISI has been searching for new routes to infiltrate into Jammu and Kashmir besides establishing new control rooms in PoK.

The security forces, after intercepting messages, revealed that eight new routes have been identified which are covered with snow and have less patrolling by Indian forces during peak winters.

The intelligence intercepts have further revealed that Pakistan has activated new terror launch pads along the Line of Control (LoC) with increased efforts to aid infiltration bids into Jammu and Kashmir before the Republic Day on January 26.

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Beware: Lady thief roaming the streets of Roop Nagar

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Another theft case of ₹7,200 has been reported from a boutique named ” The Hanger’ located on the main road in Roop Nagar, Jammu.

A lady who visited the boutique duped the owner and took away garments amounting to a total of ₹7,200.

The owner at first didn’t recognise the lady, but she pretended as if she was their regular customer.

“After selecting the garments, she asked for an assistant boy to come along and will make the payment to him as she reaches her residence”, the owner said.

She instead fooled the owner and the boy as well and wasn’t seen anywhere after that.

The boutique owner has filed a complaint in the nearest police station on January 18.

Police are investigating the matter, and soon the lady thief would be caught; till then, the locals are advised to beware of such miscreants.

Aditi Tikku

 

Read More: Two feared dead after drowning in Chenab

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21 Jan 2022, 8:35 AM (GMT)

Coronavirus Stats

38,566,027 Total Cases
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