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Over 41 Lakh Domicile Certificates Distributed in J&K Since Abrogation of Article 370

Anees Zargar |
As many as 55,931 West Pakistan Refugees (WPR), who have settled in Jammu division around 1947, have been issued domiciles certificates. About 2,754 Valmikis, a marginalised Hindu community, and 789 Gorkhas have been provided with domiciles so far.
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Srinagar: The government of Jammu and Kashmir has issued over 41 lakh domicile certificates in the union territories since the Centre abrogated Article 370 and downsized the erstwhile state into two UTs, according to an official report.

On Tuesday, the UT government’s Department of Information and Public Relation (DIPR) released a report titled 'Jammu and Kashmir marching to a new tune – towards prosperity, progress and peace'. Aside from how many domiciles the government has issued, the report has detailed its achievements ahead of the second anniversary of the the government’s unilateral move to abrogate Article 370.

As many as 55,931 West Pakistan Refugees (WPR), who have settled in Jammu division around 1947, have been issued domiciles certificates. About 2,754 Valmikis, a marginalised Hindu community, and 789 Gorkhas have been provided with domiciles so far; new domicile laws were introduced in the region.

The UT government notified new rules for issuance of domiciles for appointment to any post in the region after the revocation of so-called ‘special status’ of J&K, which reserved right to work to locals only. The erstwhile permanent residents – who were governed under the state subject law – are automatically eligible, officials say, while people who have resided in Jammu and Kashmir for 15 years, studied here for seven years or those who have passed tenth and twelfth grade from the region are also eligible.

The report also mentioned that 890 Central laws are now applicable to the UT. A total of 205 state laws were repealed and 130 state laws were modified and applied following the decision made on August 5, 2019. The 76-page report has enlisted a slew of developmental projects and central schemes the government has either undertaken or plans to carry out in the region.

Critics, including former chief ministers of Jammu and Kashmir like Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, however, have often alleged the lack of any progress in the region, especially after the special laws for J&K were revoked with the promise to bring development to the territory.

Rights groups like UN and Amnesty International have accused the BJP-led government of carrying out unpopular decisions in the region and said the state has used arbitrary detentions, surveillance and other forms of crackdown on people to crush dissent in the region.

Articles 370 and 35-A, both of which were considered as key to govern Kashmir, were removed amidst an unprecedented clampdown on people’s movement and communication services, something that resulted in a catastrophic humanitarian crisis in the restive region.

The regional political leadership – which was detained ahead of the decision – following their release formed a group called the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD). Its objective is to advocate for the restoration of the pre-August 5 status of Jammu and Kashmir.

After the government’s report, PAGD issued a scathing counter statement which said that the abrogation of Article 35 A has made the status of permanent residents “redundant.”

“Protection of Jobs and land rights was removed arbitrarily which deepened the alienation and sense of insecurity in all the regions. The economy of J&K has virtually collapsed as tourism, trade agriculture, horticulture and Handicraft sectors were badly hit,” the spokesperson said

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