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No formal proposal yet from Centre on advisory council, says JKAP’s Mir

The advisory, if constituted, will for the first time enable a local face to oversee governance issues in Jammu & Kashmir.

The recently-floated Jammu-Kashmir Apni Party (JKAP) on Tuesday said there was no formal proposal yet from the Centre on the constitution of an advisory council for the Union Territory (UT), with its members reportedly drawn from the JKAP and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

The advisory, if constituted, will for the first time enable a local face to oversee governance issues in Jammu & Kashmir.

“There is no such offer as of now. Whenever such an offer is made, the JKAP will take a decision,” JKAP leader Ghulam Hasaan Mir said, a day after there were some media reports on such a move.

Several statements by the JKAP have reflected a softening of its stand on domicile laws, including when it welcomed the new recruitment policy that allows both eligible non-locals and domiciles to apply for posts. JKAP president Altaf Bukhari’s frequent trips to Delhi have also fuelled speculation over “a new arrangement being worked out on J&K”, sources said.

Sources in the BJP said the Centre was mulling options “to restore political processes”, as it will be 10 months in May since the suspension of political activities by regional parties after the revocation of J&K’s special status.

NC’s rider

The National Conference (NC) has insisted on the rider of releasing all political leaders, including Peoples Democratic Party president Mehbooba Mufti, Peoples Conference chief Sajjad Lone and J&K Peoples Movement chief Shah Faesal, to commence political activities and make its stand public on a series of events since August 5, 2019. No released NC leader has attended public functions in J&K so far.

Professor Bhim Singh, chief of the Jammu-based National Panthers Party, also said, in a veiled reference to JKAP, which is yet to be political party registered with the Election Commission of India: “I urge President of India Ramnath Kovind to convene an urgent meeting of the representatives of recognised political parties in J&K so that a communication between the people and the administration continues for future. I regret that some unrecognised political groups and their wealthy leaders are being promoted by bureaucracy at the cost of democracy.”

Section 85 of the J&K Reorganisation Act, 2019 affords the power to constitute committees to oversee matters of apportionment of assets, rights and liabilities of companies and corporations in the newly created UTs of J&K and Ladakh.

A three-member advisory committee, headed by former defence secretary Sanjay Mitra, was constituted in September last year. The Centre has also appointed Advisors to the Lieutenant-Governor, and allocated portfolios. However, the nature of the law under which any council could be created remains ambiguous.

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Printable version | Jul 5, 2020 4:29:52 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/no-formal-proposal-yet-from-centre-on-advisory-council-says-jkaps-mir/article31683026.ece

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