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Ladakh Residents Get Exclusive Job Rights, Admin Asked to Define 'Residents'

Anees Zargar |
As the Ladakh administration announced the new laws, many said that the decision was taken without the consultation of two autonomous hill development councils of Leh and Kargil.
Ladakh Residents Get Exclusive Job Rights, Admin Asked to Define 'Residents'

Image Courtesy: The Indian Express

Srinagar: The administration in the union territory of Ladakh said it has formulated new recruitment rules making jobs exclusively available for locals of the region.

According to an official notification, issued by the UT administration, the rules formulated by Lieutenant Governor RK Mathur will come into force from the date of their publication in the official Gazette.

"No person shall be qualified for appointment to the service unless the person is a resident of Union Territory of Ladakh," reads Clause 11 of the notification by the Labour and Employment Department, Ladakh.

The order also mentioned that “persons who have already been appointed substantively to a post in the cadre of Jammu and Kashmir Employment (Subordinate) Service and finally allotted for service in the Union territory of Ladakh in accordance with the provisions of section 89(2) of the J&K Reorganisation Act 2019, shall be deemed to have been appointed to the Service at the initial constitution.”

As the administration announced the new laws on Tuesday, many said the decision was taken without the consultation of two autonomous hill development councils that administered two divisions – Leh and Kargil – in the erstwhile part of Jammu and Kashmir.

Many Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC) said they are yet to go through the notification rules introduced while many others termed it as “not significant” with regards to the demands expressed by the people in the region. Many others remain tight-lipped about the development and are not keen on welcoming it.

The notification defines the resident of UT of Ladakh as any person who satisfies the criteria of residence as may be prescribed for the purpose of employment under the regional administration under any act, rule or regulation “having force” in the union territory.

Unless there is a reservation, it is less likely to be of any use. There should be a constitutional guarantee that will bring more clarity as we have been demanding,” LAHDC councillor from Tiger Rigzin Lundup told NewsClick.

Sajjad Kargili, a Kargil based activist, said it was still unclear as to who was a domicile of Ladakh and the fresh order was brought “unilaterally” by sidelining the hill development councils which is “unfortunate”. “There is a confusion who is a resident of Ladakh. Also, we do not have a legislature and therefore hill council development should have been included in deliberations and these laws have been made without their consent,” he said.

Sajjad added that there are apprehensions as to whether the decision of defining domiciles of Ladakh will be imposed on people of the region like the decision of August 5, 2019 i.e. the abrogation of Article 370 and bifurcation of J&K.

Since the abrogation of Article 370, people in both Kargil and Leh have been protesting against what they see as “discrimination in jobs and recruitment.” The locals have been demanding new laws that safeguard land, jobs and environmental concerns of the ecologically fragile territory.

To push for the demands, the local civil society, religious groups and political parties last year formed an Apex Committee of the People’s Movement of Ladakh which advocated the 6th schedule of the constitution with powers safeguarding the interests of locals.

Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Mohamad Yousuf Tarigami termed the decision as “another half-hearted attempt” of the BJP government taken without the consultation of the two functional hill development councils in the region.

There is no clarity in the latest order issued by the Lieutenant Governor of Ladakh about whether those applying for jobs will have to submit permanent residence certificates, as was the practice prior to 2019, or domicile certificates. Unlike Ladakh, the recruitment rules framed for J&K last year allowed all domiciles, even those who have been living in J&K for more than seven years or studying in the UT up to class 12, as eligible to apply for jobs,” MY Tarigami said in a statement.

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