India on Monday asked the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation to refrain from carrying out “its communal agenda” after the intergovernmental organisation expressed concern on the delimitation exercise in Jammu and Kashmir.
“We are dismayed that the OIC Secretariat has once again made unwarranted comments on the internal affairs of India,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said in a statement.
Bagchi said that even in the past, India has “categorically rejected” statements made by the Islamic nations’ group on Jammu and Kashmir.
“OIC should refrain from carrying out its communal agenda vis-à-vis India at the behest of one country,” Bagchi said.
The Union government started the delimitation process – or redrawing boundaries – of Assembly constituencies in Jammu and Kashmir on February 17, 2020.
In its final report submitted on May 5, the panel allocated 47 Assembly constituencies to the Kashmir region and 43 to the Jammu region. Once the final report is approved by the government, elections will be held in Jammu and Kashmir, which has not had an elected government since June 2018.
Before Jammu and Kashmir was made a Union Territory, it officially had 111 Assembly seats, out of which 24 seats were in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. Out of the Assembly’s effective strength of 87 seats, 46 seats were in Kashmir region and 37 were in the Jammu region. The Ladakh region had four seats.
Earlier on Monday, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation had expressed “deep concern” on the redrawing of electoral boundaries in Jammu and Kashmir.
The exercise “alters the demographic structure of the territory and violates the rights of Kashmiris”, the general secretariat of the intergovernmental organisation said in a statement.
“The delimitation exercises are in direct contravention of the relevant UN Security Council resolutions and international law, including the 4th Geneva Convention,” it said.
The general secretariat also said it stood in solidarity with the people of Jammu and Kashmir “in their quest for the right of self-determination”.
“It urges the international community, particularly the UN Security Council to take immediate cognisance of the grave implications of such delimitation exercises,” the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation statement read.
While it is a routine effort in some parts of the country, the delimitation process is much sensitive in Jammu and Kashmir because of fears that the Bharatiya Janata Party may use it to alter political outcomes in what was earlier India’s only Muslim-majority state.
In March, two Jammu and Kashmir residents had moved the Supreme Court challenging the constitution of the Delimitation Commission. They argued that the Centre’s decision to form the panel was unconstitutional and was done without the necessary power, jurisdiction and authority.