The General Secretariat of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on Monday expressed “deep concern” over India’s attempts to redraw the electoral boundaries of Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK), altering the demographic structure of the territory and violating the rights of the Kashmiri people.
In a statement shared on Twitter, the OIC said the delimitation exercises were in direct contravention of the relevant UN Security Council (UNSC) resolutions and international law, including the 4th Geneva Convention.
“Referring to the long-standing and principled position on the Jammu and Kashmir dispute and relevant decisions of the Islamic Summit and OIC Council of Foreign Ministers, the General Secretariat reiterates its solidarity with the people of Jammu and Kashmir in their just quest for the right of self-determination, in accordance with relevant UNSC resolutions,” the statement said.
The OIC also called on the international community, particularly the UNSC, to take immediate cognizance of the “grave implications of such ‘delimitation’ exercises”.
Earlier this month, New Delhi issued a new list of redrawn political constituencies for IOK, giving greater representation to the Muslim-majority region’s Hindu areas and paving the way for fresh elections.
In 2019, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government broke up the occupied territory into two federal territories as part of a move to tighten its grip over the region. The occupied region originally comprised the mainly Muslim Kashmir Valley, the Hindu-dominated Jammu region, and the remote Buddhist enclave of Ladakh.
However, earlier this month, the Indian government said a delimitation commission had finalised 90 assembly constituencies for the IOK, excluding Ladakh, with 43 seats for Jammu and 47 for Kashmir. Earlier, Jammu had 37 seats and the Kashmir valley had 46.
The delimitation commission claimed it had been difficult to accommodate competing claims from various sides, citing in a statement the region’s “peculiar geo-cultural landscape”.
The statement from the OIC also comes days after the organisation’s Independent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC) issued a strong condemnation against the delimitation exercise. The OIC’s human rights body termed India’s move a violation of international human rights and humanitarian laws.
Meanwhile, India on Monday said it was dismayed with “unwarranted comments” from the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on the delimitation exercise that was conducted in Jammu and Kashmir and urged the bloc to refrain from carrying out its “communal agenda” at the behest of another nation.
In a statement, ministry of external affairs (MEA) spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said India “categorically rejected” the OIC’s comments criticising New Delhi over 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,” the statement read.
Earlier in the day, the OIC, in a series of tweets shared on its official social media handle, said it was deeply concerned over “India’s attempts to redraw the electoral boundaries” Jammu and Kashmir, altering the demographic structure of the territory and violating the “rights of the Kashmiri people”.
Bagchi said, “As in the past, the Government of India categorically rejects the assertions made by the OIC secretariat on the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir which is an integral and inalienable part of India,” he said.
“The OIC should refrain from carrying out its communal agenda vis-a-vis India at the behest of one country,” Bagchi said.
In the statement, the general secretariat of the OIC said the ‘delimitation’ exercise is in “direct contravention of the relevant UN Security Council resolutions and international law, including the 4th Geneva Convention”. It also urged the international community, particularly the UN Security Council to take immediate cognizance of the “grave implications of such ‘delimitation’ exercises”.
“Referring to the long-standing and principled position on the Jammu and Kashmir dispute and relevant decisions of the Islamic Summit and OIC Council of Foreign Ministers, the general secretariat reiterates its solidarity with the people of Jammu and Kashmir,” it said.
Earlier this month, the delimitation commission, tasked with redrawing parliamentary and assembly constituencies in Jammu and Kashmir, finalised the Union territory’s electoral map, paving the way for elections in the restive region.
The three-member panel issued its final order, earmarking 43 seats to the Hindu-majority Jammu region and 47 to Muslim-majority Kashmir. Among the seven new seats, six are for Jammu and one for Kashmir.