Kashmiri Migrants' Electoral Rights: Urgent Amendments Needed

 Satish Mahaldar

Kashmiri Migrants have been unjustly denied their protected right - the right to vote, a fundamental privilege. In a significant regulatory move on December sixth, 2023, the Lok Sabha introduced two bills altering key regulations in Jammu and Kashmir. These bills, namely the Jammu and Kashmir Reservation (Alteration) Bill, 2023, and the Jammu and Kashmir Revamping (Revision) Bill, 2023, were initially presented in Parliament in July this year.

The denial of the protected right to vote for Kashmiri Migrants is evident in the proposed Bill, where the Lieutenant Governor, appointed by the President of India, would hold the power to name MLAs without the consultation of the J&K assembly. This means that the J&K assembly would be stripped of its ability to legislate for its formation. This alarming move undermines the democratic process and excludes Kashmiri Migrants from their electoral rights.

If the Indian government is genuinely concerned about the political rights of Kashmiri Pandits, it should provide them with the option to elect their political representatives. Specifically, three assembly seats should be reserved for the Kashmiri Pandit community in the Kashmir valley. Despite being in power for eight years, the Bharatiya Janata Party has failed to fulfill its promises to the Hindu majority nation and the Pandit community.Click Here To Follow Our WhatsApp ChannelThe violence against the Kashmiri Pandit community on January 19, 2020, marked 32 years since the massive exodus, yet justice remains elusive.

The BJP's 2014 election manifesto emphasized the safe return of Kashmiri Pandits with dignity, security, and assured livelihood, alongside the revocation of Article 370 and 35A. The proposed flawed legislation reflects a significant deviation from these commitments, indicating a failure on the part of the Indian government, specifically the BJP, in upholding its promises to the Kashmiri Pandit community.

Non-migrant Kashmiri Pandits and other minorities have endured hardships without receiving due compensation for their sacrifices. Since the 1990 relocation, they have faced isolation and discrimination in their own land, impacting their mental health, personal, and social well-being. We earnestly request Honorable Home Minister Shri Amit Shah Ji and other parliamentarians to consider amending the bill as suggested and proposed.

To Top