J&K Reservation (amendment) Bill fraught with ambiguities: Hasnain Masoodi

J&K Reservation (amendment) Bill fraught with ambiguities: Hasnain Masoodi
File Photo of Hasnain Masoodi

Jammu and Kashmir National Conference Member ofParliament from Anantnag Hasnain Masoodi on Friday said that the state ofJ&K has traditionally been meted out with injustice, saying the democraticsystem and the state's special status have been the key causalities of thisdiscrimination.

While speaking in the parliament over the debate onthe Jammu and Kashmir Reservation (Amendment Bill) 2019, Hasnain Masoodi saidthe people of Jammu and Kashmir despite throwing their fate with a secularIndia have been denied fruits of democracy.

He said the special status that was assured to thestate after Maharaja had signed conditional accession with the Union of Indiawas continuously infringed upon. "It started with the unconstitutional, illegalarrest of Sheikh Sahib, and the unrelenting and unprincipled infringement ofthe rights of the state which it had acquired through the 1952 Delhiagreement," he said.

Referring to the reservation for the people livingalong the International border he said, "The party supports reservations fordisadvantaged sections of the society, but the fall out of the bill will haveits effect on the reservation in jobs that has already been given to peopleliving along LOC. Until now the people living along the line of control werethe sole beneficiaries of the reservation, but now they would have to sharetheir reservation quota with the people living along internationalborder."

He said the proposed reservation for the peopleliving along IB is an extension of the reservation granted to people livingalong LoC, that means people living along IB and LOC will now have to sharefrom the same pool of reservation. "Now we would see more people competingfor a specific number of reserved seats. The 3% quota will now comprise of thepeople living along IB and LOC. This our party believes calls for a secondlook; which I implore should be left to the state legislature to decide upon,"he said adding, " our party is not opposed to granting reservation to thepeople living along IB in J&K,  weare of the view that the proposed measure should be left to the statelegislature to decide upon."

Hassnain Masoodi said that the Supreme Court ofIndia had already upheld that any decision on reservation should be anobjective one based on thorough statistical account and broad based study.

"In this case the government is persistent onbringing out an amendment which is least objective and won't prove muchconstructive towards filling the development gap in the border areas. Thematter demands systematic study of statistics, demographics and topography,which unfortunately has got a back seat in this case. The measure is fraughtwith diverse ambiguities, therefore should principally be left to the statelegislature to decide upon."

While underscoring the need of having an electedgovernment in the state said that previously having a prolonged governor's ruleand president's rule from 1990-96 didn't prove any effective towards improvingthe situation.

"It was only after a representative government ledby Dr Farooq Abdullah came in, things started improving. Today we see a gulfbetween the government and the people of state increasing. To reverse thistrend we ought to have a representative government in the state," he said.

Masoodi while referring to Home minister's statementover the conduct of peaceful parliament, ULB and Panchayat polls said, "I haveheard the honorable members sitting in treasury benches boasting how no strikecall was given on the visit of home minister to Kashmir. All this should act asan added reason for the government of India to go for Assembly electionswithout any delay."

"The people have pinned high hopes on the New Modiled government to convert the massive mandate into an aggressive peaceinitiative. The changed sensation of the present government in favor of talkshas filled the people with hope," he said.         

Masoodi said the state has traditionally been a victim of prejudice right from 1947. "The special status to the state was given to it willing by the constituent assembly of the India. The special status or the residual autonomy of the state was given to it by the very constitution of India. The Subsequent Agreement of 1952 also attested to the special status of the state. Our accession with the union is conditional, and the conditions were put in by the Maharaja himself," he said.

"However the unconstitutional arrest of Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah, unconstitutional dismissal of his government, abrogation of the state's autonomy has strained our bond with the union and added to the disaffection in the masses. Art 370 of the constitution is a solemn sacrosanct pledge of the constituent assembly of India to the state of J&K. The need of the hour is to remove anomalies that have crept between the center and the state. The situation calls for a popular government in the state and a rejuvenated dialogue with all the stake holders."

The Jammu and Kashmir Reservation (Amendment) Bill,2019 was passed in the Lok Sabha on Friday.

The Bill, which amends the Jammu and KashmirReservation Act, 2004, was introduced in Lok Sabha on Monday. It paves the wayfor the people living near the International Border in Jammu and Kashmir to getthe benefit of reservation in jobs, promotion and educational institutions onpar with those living along the Actual Line of Control (ALoC). 

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