Home WORLD NEWS ‘Misrepresentation of facts’: J&K admin’s clarification amid row over ‘non-local’ voters

‘Misrepresentation of facts’: J&K admin’s clarification amid row over ‘non-local’ voters

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NEW DELHI: The Jammu and Kashmir administration has termed as “misrepresentation of facts” some reports of over 25 lakh new voters being added to electoral rolls in the Union Territory.

This comes amid an on-going controversy about “outsiders” being given voting rights in the UT following abrogation of Article 370 and a recent remark by the J&K chief electoral officer (CEO).

The J&K Directorate of Information and Public Relations, in an advertisement published in local dailies, said the summary revision of electoral rolls is undertaken by the Election Commission from time to time according to the laid down process. The revision will enable eligible young people to register themselves as voters, it said.

Besides, it also allows a person who has changed his residence to enroll at a new location by getting his name deleted from the electoral rolls at the earlier location, the advertisement stated.

At a press conference on Wednesday, J&K Chief Electoral Officer Hirdesh Kumar had said the Union Territory is likely to get around 25 lakh additional voters, “including outsiders” after the special summary revision of electoral rolls.

A day later, a government official said that prior to the abrogation of Article 370, the assembly electoral rolls in Jammu and Kashmir were made under the ambit of Jammu and Kashmir Representation of People Act 1957, wherein only permanent residents were eligible to get registered in the assembly rolls and possessed consequential voting rights in assembly elections.

The official said it is in this context, the media was briefed that any person who fulfills the requirements of registration and is ordinarily residing in the Union territory (owing to any reasons such as profession, studies, posting, etc), can get registered in the electoral rolls of Jammu and Kashmir.

The remarks drew severe criticism from the Valley’s mainstream political parties who alleged that the “inclusion of non-locals was a clear cut ploy to disenfranchise the people of Jammu and Kashmir”. The parties are scheduled to meet on August 22 to discuss the matter and “to formulate a common position.”

The J&K Information Department said in its communique on Saturday said the number of electors as published in the Special Summary Revision of Jammu and Kashmir state in 2011 was 66,00,921 and the number in the electoral roll of the Union Territory now is 76,02,397.

“This increase is mainly due to the new voters, who attained the age of 18 years,” it further clarified.

Citing reports of 25 lakh additional voters after revision of electoral rolls, it said “This is a misrepresentation of facts spread by vested interests. This revision of electoral rolls will cover existing residents of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and the increase in numbers will be of the voters who have attained the age of 18 years as of October 1, 2022, or earlier,” it said.

The advertisement also stated that there is no change in the special provisions for Kashmiri migrants for their enrolment in the electoral rolls of their original native constituencies.

“They will continue to be given the option of voting at their place of enrolment or through postal ballot or through specially set up polling stations at Jammu, Udhampur, Delhi, etc,” it said.

The administration clarified that there is no change in rules for buying property and getting jobs in Jammu and Kashmir and “have no link to the representation of voters or otherwise”.

(With agency inputs)

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