The Kashmir Conundrum is like Abhimanyu's Chakravyuh

Population  and delimitation

Apart  from Valley Muslims, Jammu has a predominantly Hindu population while  Ladakh has a mix of Buddhist and Muslims. See table 2.

Population  of J and K Region and Religion Wise* (Table  2)

1961 1971 1981 2001 2011+
1.Jammu Region1 (000) 1572 2076 2719 4430 5378
2.Followers of Indian Religions% 62 66 73 69 69
3.Ladakh    Region2 (000) 90 105 133 237 275
4.Followers of Indian Religions% 54 53 54 52 53
5.Kashmir Valley3 (000) 1899 2436 3135 5476 6888
6.Followers of Indian Religions% 5.6 6 5 2.8 3
7.Total State Population 3561 4617 5987 10143 12541
8.Total Indian Religions % 32 34 36 33.9 32.3

*Religious  Demography of India by Dr M D Srinivas, A Joshi and Dr J K Bajaj.

+2011  numbers from Census.

A  scrutiny of the above figures reveals that the population difference  between Kashmir and Jammu regions has been increasing esp. since  2001. The difference was 3.27 lakhs in 1961, 4.16 lakhs in 1981,  10.46 lakhs in 2001 (inspite of lakhs of followers of Indian  Religions moving out of Kashmir in 1990’s) and 15.10 lakhs in 2011.

If  we were to compare population in absolute numbers between 1981 and  2011, population in Jammu increased by 26.59 lakhs whilst that of  Kashmir by 37.53 lakhs. Keep in mind that population of Jammu  increased by over three lakhs due to migration from the Valley, so  the effective increase in the Valley’s population is 13.94 lakhs.  The numbers surprise considering Jammu has an area of 26,293 sq kms  while Kashmir has 15,948 sq kms.

Since  1981 the % of followers of Indian Religions i.e. Buddhists, Hindus,  Sikhs and Jains is falling.

Without  subscribing to any conspiracy theory how much of the increase in  population was because of those who crossed the border under  Resettlement Plan or inflated figures is anyone’s guess. The Valley  does not want to let go control of the State!

Another  piece of interesting analysis is comparing population with number of  voters.

Census  vs. Number of Voters (Table  3) Numbers  in Lakhs

Region 2001 Census 2011 Census 2002 Assembly 2008 Assembly 2014 Lok Sabha Voters
Kashmir 54.76 68.88 28.85 32.63 35.97
Jammu 44.30 53.79 30.26 31.15 31.76
Ladakh 2.37 2.74 1.74 1.59 1.60
Total 101.43 125.41 60.85 65.37 69.33

Between  2001 and 2011 the State’s population went up by 23.6% whilst the  number of voters between 2002 and 2014 has gone by 14%.

Population  in Kashmir between 2001 and 2011 went up by 14.12 lakhs (25.8%)  whilst increase in number of voters between 2002 and 2014 was also  24.7% (7.12 lakhs). Corresponding figures for Jammu are 21% and 5%.

In  2002 Jammu region had 30,  26,493 voters as against 28,84,852 voters in Kashmir. Thereafter,  number of voters in Kashmir has steadily increased whilst those in  Jammu increased marginally. Note that in 2002 number of voters in  Jammu were more than Kashmir by 1.41 lakhs, in 2014 Kashmir exceeds  Jammu by 4.21 lakhs i.e. a swing of 5.67 lakhs.

Considering  Jammu has an area of 26,293 sq kms and Kashmir’s 15,948 sq kms  increase in number of voters raises doubts of manipulation!

Delimitation literally means the process of fixing limits or boundaries of  territorial constituencies in a country or a state that has a  legislative body. The job of delimitation is assigned to a high power  body known as Delimitation Commission. In India, such a Commission  was constituted four times – in 1952, 1963, 1973 and 2002. The  Delimitation Act 2002 provided that until the relevant figures for  the first census taken after the year 2026 have been published, it  shall not be necessary to readjust the number of seats in Parliament  or State Legislatures. The 2002 Delimitation Act does not apply to  the state of J&K.

A  quick recap. At the time of delimitation for election to Constituent  Assembly in 1951, 100 members of the assembly were assumed with 25  for POJK areas, 43 seats for Valley, 30 for Jammu and 2 for Ladakh.  Even after the J&K Representation of Peoples Act 1957, dated  1/2/1957, was passed laying down the procedure/parameters for  distribution of single member segments in the legislative Assembly,  the MLAs were distributed in the same way as they were in 1951.  Note  no census was conducted in 1951 before deciding electoral districts.

‘The  J&K Representation of People Act 1957 does not lay down  population as the only criteria. It lays down a) Geographical  Compactness (distribution of people in valley is compact as compared  to Jammu and Ladakh regions. b) Nature of Terrain (Jammu region has  not more than 25% plain terrain while Valley has 75%. c) facilities  for Communication (% of area covered by roads in Valley was almost  2.5 times) d) similar factors.’  2 pg  III

A  look at the table below shows that in 1951 there was one MLA per  39,790 in Kashmir and 48,700 in Jammu region. See table 4.

Population  of Jammu and Kashmir (Table  4) (numbers  in thousands)

Assembly 1952 Seats 1995 1951 1971 1981 2001 2011
1. Total 75 87 3,254 4,617 5,987 10,143 12,541
2. Kashmir Valley 43 46 1,711 2,438 3,131 5,476 6,888
3. Ladakh Region 2 4 82 101 132 237 275
4. Jammu Region 30 37 1,461 2,078 2,724 4,430 5,378

Source:  Religious  Demography of India by Dr M D Srinivas, A Joshi and Dr J K Bajaj.

2011  data from Census site

In  2002 Assembly polls number of voters per Assembly seat was 62,717 in  Kashmir vs. 81,783 in Jammu. Corresponding figures for 2008 were  70,924 and 84,189. Assembly seat per sq km is 347 for Kashmir and 710  for Jammu.

Writing  to the Delimitation Commission in 1989 Prof Chaman Lal pointed out  that Kashmir Valley had 81% plain area as against 13% of Jammu. 2 pg 41 Also according to the Report of the Task Force on development  of Jammu and Kashmir (constituted by PM in 2006) Jammu had road  length of 4,571 kms (1987 app 3,500 kms) for an area of 26,293 sq  kms. Corresponding figures for Kashmir were 7,129 kms (1987 app 4,900  kms) and 15,948 sq kms.

Therefore,  on account of most of the parameters laid down in the J&K  Representation of People Act, Jammu region should have got more  assembly seats may be atleast 45 as against 38 to the Valley! ‘Such  distribution is supported by the provisions in Section 50 of J&K  Constitution i.e. 14 elected members in Legislative Council from  Jammu region and only 12 MLC from Kashmir Region.’ 2pg  IV

Therefore,  it is not clear what was the weightage given to each criteria to  arrive at 46 seats for Kashmir and 37 for Jammu. The whole process is  shrouded in mystery.

There  is thus merit in people of Jammu’s complaint that Kashmir has got  excessive share of representation in the Assembly which has allowed  it to dominate the State.

A  look at the Census table above indicates increase in the number of  voters in Kashmir since 2002. It might be a move to counter a demand  by Jammu region for increase in seats.

It  is worth mentioning here that UPA allowed the setting up of Refugee  Camps for Rohingya Muslims (thrown out from Myanmar and Bangladeshi  in origin) in India. Of the three camps, one is in Jammu city, a  predominantly Hindu region. There are app 6,000 refugees in the city.  Sooner than later they will get right to vote and shall contribute to  changing demographics. Ironically they were not settled in Muslim  majority Kashmir!

‘It  was due to the Kashmir Valley centric attitude that even the  Delimitation Commission constituted in 1981 (for the first time after  30 years) was dragged on till April 1995 after which the whole  process was rushed through without applying the parameters laid down  in the Representation of Peoples Act 1957 and the signals that  emerged from the proportion of elected MLCs in Legislative Council  (14 for Jammu and only 12 for Kashmir region).  2 pg  22

But  in total disregard to this Justice K Gupta Delimitation Commission  ordered in 1995 only 37 (previous 30) MLA’s from Jammu and 46  (previous 43) MLA’s from the Valley and Ladakh 4 (previous 2)’.  Note that post 1990 there was mass migration of Kashmiri Hindus to  Jammu region meaning Valley population reduced.

‘ The  Nation would like to KNOW ’  the basis on which the Demilitation Commission took its decision.

The  People of India Representation Act lays down only population as the  basis for determining number of constituencies. Is it necessary, even  sixty four years later, to follow such a complicated model of  determining constituency numbers in J&K.?

After  the last Delimitation was done GoI laid down that the number of MPs  would be reviewed only after 2026. Taking advantage of this the  National Conference State Government (when it had two-third majority  in the Assembly) amended  Section 47 (3) of J&K Constitution laying down that ‘Upon  completion of each census, the number, extent and boundaries of  territorial constituencies shall be readjusted by such authority and  in such measure as the Legislature may provide – Provided until the  relevant figures for the first census taken after the year 2026 have  been published (i.e. effectively census of 2031), it shall not be  necessary to readjust the total nos of seats in the Legislative  Assembly of the State’. The last census was completed in 2001 and  the delimitation done in 1995. The Supreme Court upheld freeze on  delimitation till 2026.

What  this amendment, later confirmed by SC order, has done is to ensure  that the Valley continues to have 46 seats in the State Assembly as  against 37 by Jammu and 4 by Ladakh. The voice of the underserviced  regions of Jammu and Ladakh shall continue to be suppressed.  Importantly it will ensure that current provisions of the J&K  State Constitution continue till atleast 2031.

Without  going into the basis of the Apex Court order postponement of the next  delimitation till atleast 2031 is intended to continue Valley’s  domination over J&K.

A  Delimitations Commission cannot be constituted till 2031 unless a  Bill is passed in the J&K Assembly to undo the ban by the 29th  Constitutional Amendment to section 47 of the J&K Constitution.

The  purpose of related State laws and election is one – J&K must be  controlled by the Kashmir Valley.

Unfortunately  most sections of the media and the Government are obsessed with  Kashmiri  speaking Sunni Muslims residing in Srinagar Valley.  E.g. in May 2014 there was a program to discuss Article 370 on a TV  channel. Present were former diplomats, a PDP MP and economist from  Kashmir, journalists amongst others. Like many programs before, the  channel did not solicit views of Shia Muslims, Buddhist and Muslims  from Ladakh, Dogras, Pandits, Gujjars, Sikhs, Paharis, Rajputs and  Bakarwals  all of whom resent domination by the Valley.

Map  2 below shows area of Kashmir Valley. Note area is so small compared  to total area of J&K yet people of the State and India are held  hostage to the thoughts of those who reside there.


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