J&K: Political Parties Oppose New Domicile Rules, Flag Demographic Fears
Srinagar: The government has notified new rules for issuance of domicile certificate for the appointment to any post in the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir, which has drawn huge flak from political parties who are demanding the revocation of the new law.
In its fresh order on May 18, the government said the permanent residents of the region will be eligible to get the domicile certificates. The certificate will be issued by the designated authority which in all cases are tehsildars or other officials notified by the government. The order further said that the domicile certificate will be issued within 15 working days and in case the certificate is not issued within the stipulated time, the applicant shall be free to approach an appellate authority. In case the issuing authority fails to issue the certificate within a period of seven days after the applicant succeeds in his appeal with the Appellant Authority, he shall recover an amount of Rs 50,000 from the salary of the designated official.
Terming it an order to disempower the people of Kashmir, the regional political parties in the region have called the decision "undemocratic" and "arbitrary".
In a statement, the Jammu and Kashmir National Conference said the domicile rules will not be "acceptable" because of the party's stand against the abrogation of Article 370 in August last year.Party spokesperson, Imran Nabi, said these measures are aimed at "disempowering" the people of Jammu and Kashmir and effecting a demographic change.
"The party while reiterating its resolve to continue its struggle through all peaceful means for realisation of political aspirations of the people of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh, has asked the Government of India to immediately revoke the Domicile Order and Procedure as these measures will widen the gulf between the people of Jammu and Kashmir and the rest of the country and add to their alienation," Imran told NewsClick.
The domicile rules were also rejected by the People's Democratic Party (PDP) who like NC said the order will be resisted through democratic and peaceful means. "The demographic change and disenfranchisement will further complicate the J&K issue which has claimed thousands of lives so far. This will be resisted through all democratic, peaceful means. Even a pandemic is no deterrent for the GoI to continue with its disempowerment project for JK. Orders like the one on domicile certificates don't settle anything, neither do they cover up the August 5 fraud," PDP tweeted on Monday, May 18.
The political leadership in the region has also questioned the timing of the order calling the process "unethical" in the wake of worldwide outbreak of COVID-19 which has led to an unprecedented global lockdown including in Kashmir.
Experts have warned of major fallout following the implementation of the new law as people in both Jammu as well as Kashmir regions are apprehensive of the law as an act of "demographic aggression."
Many have said the law vindicates the fears of demographic change in the region and risks further deterioration of situation in Kashmir.
PDP leader Waheed ur Rahman Parra said the new rules will have severe "implications" for politics in Kashmir. "What makes the situation precarious is that these decisions are being taken unilaterally without the consent of people here. These arbitrary decisions being taken at the time of a pandemic also highlights the insecurity behind these orders," Parra told NewsClick.
The domicile order dated March 31 redefined the domiciles of Jammu and Kashmir, stripped of its special status in August 2019, and stated that all those who have resided in J&K for a period of 15 years, and children of all central government employees who have served here for a period of 10 years or have appeared in the Class 10 or the Class 12 examinations, all these will now be eligible for domicile certificates.
Questioning its timing, senior leader from Communist Party of India (Marxist) M Yousuf Tarigami said the new domicile notification is an "extension of the unconstitutional and undemocratic assault" carried out by the Bharatiya Janata Party led government last year.
"The dominant perception across the erstwhile state remains that the new notification is a ploy of the BJP to continue its Hindutva political project and further disempower and dispossess the people of the J&K politically, economically and culturally," Tarigami added.
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