New Delhi: The CPI(M) has accused the central government of scuttling electoral democracy in Jammu and Kashmir and alleged that it was continuing its efforts to “disempower” the Muslim majority population.
The latest editorial of the party’s mouthpiece People’s Democracy criticised the announcement of the chief electoral officer of J and K on August 16 that around 25 lakh voters including outsiders are likely to be added after the special summary revision of the electoral rolls being held for the first time after the abrogation of Article 370.
“Three years after the virtual abrogation of Article 370 and nullification of the special status on August 5, 2019, the Modi government is continuing its efforts to reorder the electoral system in Jammu and Kashmir to suit its interests by disempowering the Muslim majority population,” it said.
“In fact, the addition of around 25 lakh voters to the 76 lakh registered voters would alter in a major way the electoral balance in favour of the BJP and bring about a demographic change,” it added.
The party said the new regulations would also mean that refugees from West Pakistan, residing in the state since 1947 and who could enrol as NPRs and vote in parliament, would now be eligible as ordinarily resident to vote in the assembly election.
“This latest measure on giving voting rights to non-permanent residents is part of the overall plan to reduce the weightage of the Muslim population in the Valley and in the Jammu region for the purpose of representation in the future assembly. All the political parties, except the BJP, have rejected this inclusion of non-locals in the electoral list,” it said.
The CPI(M) also claimed that the changes in the electoral rolls is designed to help the BJP secure a big majority in the Jammu region and to form a government with the help of some splinter groups of smaller parties who have emerged in the Valley.
“All these preparations for holding an assembly election is being undertaken with no assurance that statehood will be first granted to Jammu and Kashmir. Further, all these measures are being pushed through when the Reorganisation Act of 2019 has been challenged in the Supreme Court and the matter is pending there,” it alleged.
It also alleged that the last three years have seen an unprecedented attack on democracy and democratic rights of citizens in J and K.
In short, Jammu and Kashmir continues under siege. It is in such a situation that a truncated and communally designed electoral system is being imposed, the party added.
“This will further deepen the alienation of the people in the Valley and give a fillip to militancy. Already the state has seen an increase in targeted killings of over 20 people this year. No democratic-minded citizen of India can turn a blind eye to what is happening in Jammu and Kashmir, since whatever happens there has been a forerunner of things to come in the rest of the country,” it said.