NEW DELHI: The Home Ministry on Tuesday ducked answering questions in the Lok Sabha on whether it will conduct delimitation exercise in Jammu & Kashmir or if there was a proposal of extending National Register of Citizens (NRC) across the country.
All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen MP Asaduddin Owaisi asked the government if it was planning to conduct a delimitation exercise in J&K to “remove regional imbalance” in the state.
Owaisi asked if the state had not been included in the delimitation exercise taken up in the country and whether the government considered to undertake it with a view to remove the regional imbalance in the state.
Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy said in a written response that J&K was not included within the purview of the Delimitation Act, 2002, as Article 170 of the Constitution that deals with the delimitation of constituencies of state Assemblies had not been extended to Jammu and Kashmir.
“Delimitation of Legislative Assembly constituencies in J&K is carried out under Section 47 and 141 of the Constitution of J&K,” Reddy said. However, he neither denied nor confirmed if the government had plans of conducting delimitation exercise in the state.
Silence on pan-India NRC
Reddy also avoided giving a clear answer to a question seeking to know if there is any proposal to extend NRC across the country.
“The NR is being updated at present in Assam as per the provisions of the Citizenship Act, 1955 and the provisions contained in the schedule framed under Rule 4A (4) of Citizenship Rules, 2003. NRC, Assam was prepared in 1951 as a non-statutory process by recording particulars of all persons enumerated during Census 1951,” said Reddy.
The NRC in Assam is being monitored by the Supreme Court to identify undocumented immigrants in the state and deport them to their respective countries.
Can talk to Hurriyat but not Pakistan: BJP
Srinagar: The J&K BJP Tuesday said Hurriyat Conference leaders were “our own people” and talks can be held with them but not with Pakistan, which is shelling the border areas in the state. State BJP general secretary (Orgination) Ashok Koul said talks with Hurriyat Conference should be held within the Indian constitution.
“Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India. The Hurriyat leaders should come forward for talks. We don’t have any objection on talks,” he said.
However, when asked whether cases registered against separatist leaders will be withdrawn ahead of talks, he said, “The cases against them won’t be withdrawn. These cases will be taken to logical conclusion. How can we spare a person who is involved in hawala money and other activities.”