Srinagar, June 29: Apni Party president Syed Altaf Bukhari on Tuesday said his party demanded “constitutional guarantee on land and jobs” in Jammu and Kashmir during the recently held all-party meet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi.
“Post August 5, 2019 anyone could purchase land in J&K but the Apni Party took steps to safeguard the land rights. Now 95 per cent of people who can buy land are J&K domiciles. During the all-party meet, we asked that the government order on lands and jobs should now get a constitutional guarantee,” Bukhari said at a press conference here.
The Apni Party president said the PM gave a “patient hearing” to the demands. Bukhari said he was hopeful that the Apni Party will be successful in getting “some sort of a constitutional guarantee” on lands and jobs soon which will be much more than a “temporary measure.”
“In the all-party meeting I thanked the Home Minister and NSA who took steps to ensure employment guarantee for domiciles of J&K. There were some loopholes in it but we took initiatives to get it changed. Earlier only class fourth jobs were reserved but we got it changed and all jobs were reserved for J&K domiciles,” Bukhari said. “I even demanded constitutional guarantee on natural resources and minerals for the locals,” Bukhari said.
Bukhari said “unlike other parties”, the stand of Apni Party remains the same whether it was representing people of J&K in a forum in the Valley, at Jammu or Delhi. “Our politics is based on truth and the truth is that what we speak here we repeat the same outside Kashmir,” Bukhari said.
He said that in the all-party meeting the Apni Party deliberated on “issues close to people”. “When we had a meeting with the PM last year in March, we apprised him that there is a common feeling that by abrogating Article 370 there were efforts to make a demographic change but the PM and Home Minister clearly told us that this is not the case,” Bukhari said.
Bukhari said that in the all-party meet he demanded that the Delimitation Commission exercise be delayed. However, he said the Home Minister Amit Shah clarified that “it is important to have Delimitation in J&K as the number of Assembly seats would get increased with help of this exercise”. “I had urged the Home Minister to nominate the members of other minority communities or others and later assign them the seats after 2026. The Home Minister didn’t agree to this but I put forth a demand that Delimitation should be a transparent process as there are speculations in Kashmir that it is being used to bring a demographic change in J&K,” Bukhari said.
Bukhari said the Home Minister made it clear that while earlier the associate members in Delimitation Commission were only Parliament members but now “any ECI registered party with even one elected DDC member can have two associate members in Delimitation Commission.” “The Home Minister also assured that the Delimitation Commission will be opened up for the common people as well and their suggestions as stakeholders will be welcomed,” Bukhari said.
Bukhari said the all-party meet was a welcome move and taking all stakeholders into confidence was encouraging.
“We as parties should not give a walk-over. Let us at least give it a try to put our say and then see if it is accepted or not. Our party had roped in experts and worked on the Delimitation aspect for the last 8 to 9 months. We will soon present a solid case based on different parameters,” Bukhari said.
When asked if there should be talks with Pakistan, Bukhari said: “It is not my domain but that of the Ministry of External Affairs and the Ministry of Defence.”
Bukhari said people were keen for the return of an elected government in Jammu and Kashmir as “bureaucracy has been unable to address their needs and problems.”
Bukhari said in the all-party meet, he made comments with regard to August 5, 2019 and called it a “black day” for Jammu and Kashmir. “Now that the cases on revocation of Abrogation of Article 370 are lying in the Supreme Court, our party has reiterated for an early hearing of the cases. The cases being expedited in the Supreme Court is the only way out as the atmosphere of Parliament is such that a consensus is not possible to achieve,” Bukhari said.