Union Home Minister Amit Shah Reaffirms PoK as Integral Part of India

In a parliamentary session on Monday, Union Home Minister Amit Shah reiterated that Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) is an integral part of India, asserting that no one can seize the region from the country. Responding to the debate in the Rajya Sabha on two bills—The Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Amendment) Bill 2023 and The Jammu and Kashmir Reservation (Amendment) Bill 2023—passed by the Lok Sabha on December 7, Shah emphasized that the Delimitation Commission, tasked with delineating assemblies and parliamentary constituencies in Jammu and Kashmir, has reserved 24 seats for PoK.

Shah clarified, “The delimitation commission has taken many other decisions. I just want to tell the past and present situation before the House. Earlier there were only 37 seats in Jammu (division), now the new Delimitation Commission has increased the number of seats from 37 to 43 in the Jammu region. Work has been done to make 47 seats instead of 46 in Kashmir (division). In this way, Jammu and Kashmir together have 90 seats against 83 seats earlier. And 24 seats of PoK have been kept reserved because we still believe that…(and) today I want to say again that PoK belongs to India, it is ours and that no one can take it from us,” Shah said.

The Jammu and Kashmir Reservation (Amendment) Bill, 2023, introduced in Lok Sabha on July 26, 2023, amends the Jammu and Kashmir Reservation Act of 2004, providing reservation in jobs and admission in professional institutions to Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and other socially and educationally backward classes. The other bill seeks to insert new sections 15A and 15B in the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019, to nominate members from the community of “Kashmiri Migrants” and “Displaced Persons from Pakistan occupied Jammu and Kashmir” to the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly.

Shah emphasized that both bills, aimed at providing rights to those who faced injustice and were deprived of their rights in the Union Territory, received unanimous support from all quarters. Addressing the hurtful term ‘weak and deprived class,’ he mentioned the decision to replace it with the constitutional term ‘Other Backward Class.’

The second bill aims to honor Kashmiri Pandits and other displaced persons, particularly those who faced displacement due to terrorism in the 80s. Shah encouraged displaced individuals to register with the government, assuring them of the government’s commitment to providing justice. He stated, “You will become a voter, you will be able to contest elections, and you can also become a minister in Jammu and Kashmir. You have full rights.”

In conclusion, Shah affirmed the government’s dedication to supporting the displaced, ensuring justice, and upholding the rights of all citizens in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.

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