India prepares to hold regional elections in Kashmir

New Delhi, May 5 (EFE).- Indian authorities on Thursday finalized an order to redesign the electoral map of India-administered Kashmir, an expected move through which New Delhi aims to hold the first regional elections since it revoked the semi-autonomous status of the conflict-ridden region in 2019.

The delimitation commission, established to reorganize the administrative constituencies of the newly established union territory of Jammu and Kashmir, on Thursday announced the conclusion of its task.

The commission had completed a “challenging” process, and the provisions of the delimitation order would come into effect on the date to be notified by the central government, the election commission said in a press release.

India-administered Kashmir has been governed directly by the central government since its ruling coalition collapsed in 2018, with the Indian parliament revoking the autonomy of the region a year later.

Home Minister Amit Shah has repeatedly said that the delimitation exercise was one of the last hurdles in the way of holding regional elections, apart from consulting the regional political parties.

One of these groups is the People’s Democratic Party, whose leader Mehbooba Mufti was the last serving chief minister of the state of Jammu and Kashmir before the assembly was dissolved in 2018.

PDP had formed a coalition government with the Bharatiya Janata Party led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which walked out of the alliance citing the security situation in the Kashmir valley.

The Jammu & Kashmir Reorganization Act was approved with a landslide majority in the BJP-dominated Indian parliament in 2019, in a decision that had already been announced in the electoral manifesto of the Hindu right-wing party.

The act revoked a key article of the Indian constitution that allowed special privileges and autonomy to the Muslim-majority region.

Both India and Pakistan claim sovereignty over the disputed Kashmir region since the subcontinent was divided into two separate nations 75 years ago.

Since then, the two sides have fought several wars over the territory, divided between them by a provisional border, which has become one of the world’s most militarized regions.

The bilateral tensions intensified further in 2019 when New Delhi unilaterally went ahead with revoking the semi-autonomy of India-administered Kashmir. EFE


Related Articles

Back to top button