File photo of a protest in Delhi against the scrapping of Article 370 and Article 35A, in August last year | Representational image | ANI
File photo of a protest in Delhi against the scrapping of Article 370 and Article 35A, in August last year | Representational image | ANI
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Srinagar: The emergence of an IAS officer’s purported domicile certificate on social media has created a fresh controversy in Jammu & Kashmir, once again bringing to the fore local concerns about the Modi government’s August 2019 decision to scrap Article 370 and Article 35A.

The certificate in question purportedly involves the grant of domicile to IAS officer Navin Kumar Choudhary, a senior J&K-cadre officer from Bihar who has been posted in the region since the 1990s.  

It has triggered vehement criticism from residents of Jammu as well as Kashmir, who see the new domicile law, brought into force in April, as a bid to tweak the demography and deprive residents of local government jobs. The furore has been echoed by political parties, with former chief minister Omar Abdullah of the National Conference saying on Twitter Friday that “all our misgivings about the new domicile rules in J&K are coming to the fore”. 

Until August last year, Article 370 and Article 35A secured certain privileges for local residents as part of terms agreed upon in 1947 to make J&K a part of India. These privileges included complete reservation in local government jobs for permanent residents. Even the power to define permanent residents lay with the state legislature.

However, the new domicile law allows outsiders a claim on local jobs if they fulfil certain conditions. 

Approached for comment, Choudhary, who is posted as principal secretary in the J&K Agriculture Production Department, said he would not like to comment on the matter “as it (issuance of domicile) is a personal issue”. He said he has been in J&K since the mid-1990s and has served in various government departments.

Jammu Divisional Commissioner Sanjeev Verma and government spokesperson Rohit Kansal did not respond to calls and messages sent by ThePrint.


Also Read: What new J&K domicile rule is and how it impacts residents of the union territory


Certificate goes viral

The purported domicile certificate of the IAS officer has been shared thousands of times on Twitter.

National Conference chief spokesperson Aga Syed Ruhullah Mehdi said in a statement Friday that the party unequivocally rejected the “unconstitutional and anti-people process of grant of domicile certificates to outsiders” and demanded the immediate revocation of the domicile law brought in April.

“All the misgivings raised after the domicile laws were changed in J&K are coming to fore with J&K government’s issuance of domicile certificates to non-residents of J&K,” Ruhullah said, echoing Abdullah’s Twitter post. 

“The first and foremost casualty of this process will be our jobs and the land holdings, which were earlier reserved for the permanent residents of J&K irrespective of their religion or region,” he added, saying the measure is aimed at disempowering “permanent residents politically and economically”.

The spokesperson of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), a former ally of the BJP, said the objective of “population replacement in J&K is to change the Muslim-majority character of the state at a time when everything in the country is viewed through the prism of religion”. 

“As the agenda unfolds, it becomes clear that, along with the intended demographic change, the target is also the jobs, natural resources, cultural identity and everything that the people of Kashmir had tried to save by acceding to India with firm constitutional guarantees,” the spokesperson added, saying the special status of Jammu & Kashmir was a matter of life and death for its people. 

“No one had the authority to challenge the very identity of the people of the state in any court across the world,” he said.


Also Read: Industries to domicile jobs: Modi govt’s cluelessness on Kashmir is visible in 9 months


Why local residents are concerned

The Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Adaptation of State Laws) Order, 2020, which was passed in August last year, allows anyone who has resided in J&K for 15 years, or has studied there for seven years, and appeared in either the Class 10 or Class 12 exams, to be eligible for domicile certificates.

The new rules also state that migrants registered by the Relief and Rehabilitation Commissioner need not fulfil the requirements for domicile status. 

The law, however, does not specify whether officials currently serving in J&K are eligible for domicile certificates, which can only be used while applying for government jobs as of now.

One of the questions raised with regard to Choudhary’s purported certificate is why it was required when the IAS officer already has a government job. 

According to government officials, the J&K administration has received nearly 33,000 domicile applications since April, of which more than 25,000 have been approved.

Two senior government officials confirmed that 32,000 of these applications were from Jammu division alone, while the rest were from the 10 districts of Kashmir, the highest being from Pulwama and Anantnag.

Over 150 people have applied for a domicile certificate in Pulwama, and more than 100 in Anantnag, the officials said. In Jammu division, the highest number of applications, 8,500, were received in Doda.

The concerns about domicile laws are not restricted to Kashmir alone, but are also being raised in Jammu. 

“Under the garb of domicile, outsiders will take away our jobs and our land. This is all a fallout of the abrogation of Article 370. First, the central government mentioned domicile in the reorganisation Act, but did not define it properly for months, making residents unsure of their future,” said Jammu-based advocate Anil Sethi, brother of senior local BJP leader Sunil Sethi. 

“When they finally did, they kept it ambiguous. It is a possibility that the domicile, which is specifically for acquiring jobs, will be later used to acquire land.” 

A faculty member in the social science department of Kashmir University agreed with Sethi.

“The definition of permanent resident of J&K… has been replaced by domicile (in the domicile law). A definition of domicile was introduced in April for the purpose of government jobs. This was bound to happen, the issuance of a domicile certificate here is not as alarming but it’s a matter of concern that the upper bureaucracy, which already has government jobs, is applying for the certificate,” the faculty member said.

“There are a lot of rules and regulations that have to be passed, which will answer questions like, whether being a domicile makes one eligible for a voter card, right to buy land, or contest local elections,” the faculty member added.

“The IAS officer, being part of the top brass of the government and perhaps a policymaker himself, might know future plans and policies.”


Also Read: Not all flak from US, 6 lawmakers back Modi govt on Article 370, J&K clampdown


 

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29 Comments Share Your Views

29 COMMENTS

  1. How strange , one living in Kashmir since the 1990s gets domicile status but Inner Line Permits are issued for northeastern states and a non tribal living there since the British period is considered a second class citizen , not allowed to buy land or carry out business.

  2. The original inhabitants of Jammu and Kashmir were the Hindu ,you forcefully removed them….the Hindus are eventually getting it back….why do the Muslims have problem now…. they should know the history and that it’s not their land..ALL THINGS WILL RETURN TO WHAT IT WAS EARLIER

  3. New Domicile Law is ok, I too am in its favour, but first of all what Rohingia Muslims are doing in Jammu and Kashmir. First of all make them run out of the state. There after look at the domicile for Kashmir Province. How many people have applied for domicile there. Jammu is ok, people are required to apply for domicile in Kashmir. This way it is not changing the demography of Kashmir but of Jammu. So be positive about Kashmir not Jammu. Rest these Sethi or some other person speaking hardly matters. Because they are also not actually from Jammu and Kashmir, they are from Punjab and have purchased State subjects on fraud bases..

  4. India has the plans to convert Muslim majority into minority, instead the people should be given the rights of speech, access to internet, and to live how they want to live. They should not be kept like prisoners.

  5. Has anyone heard of the shame less things done under Roshani scheme its better be called The Dark scheme.
    And what about KP s . Was flushing them on gunpoint shedding blood not bloody demographic change.
    Shame on these Rascals and so called Liberals and urban Naxals.
    #ShameOnThePrint.
    Show guts and do a story on 1989 and Roshani scheme.

  6. Why complicate matters. Kashmir is a part of India, like any other state. So there should be no difference, in any aspect be it law, domicile or constitution. Keep religion aside. India is secular.

  7. In 15 years, people can become citizen of a country, so I don’t understand what is there to be unhappy about. People who have been living there for such a long time must be contributing positively towards the development of J and K. And the interchange of culture is important for people to understand each other. Don’t people of J and K get jobs in other parts of India? So it is fair enough.

  8. Anyone getting into IOK, will eventually have to leave when IOK gets liberated from foreign Indian occupation, which will be soon

  9. Demography is not applicable to the other parts of Bharath? After all what is the relevance of a religious demography in a secular Country like Bharath? Now the Central Government is correctly doing which is to be appreciated. We hope that within short period the militancy in Kashmir will be eradicated and all citizens will be able to live there with peace and tranquility. Jai Hind.

  10. so the islamofacsits want to sikjhs n hindus to remain as minor second class citizens n they want theit muslims majority so that they can convert non muslims and then some dream of joining pakistan… their agenda is clear .. modi govt should also help arm the vulnerable citizens of jammu n kashmir who may face the threat from the islamofacists n separatists

  11. Great please give domicile to more and more people in Kashmir. Kashmiri Muslims looted our house in 1990 and even made us run away from our homes and funny thing is they try to play victim card now it’s hypocrisy at it’s max.

  12. Why is the Print behaving like a Jihadi agent? Was the killing and pushing out of the Kashmiri Pandits not done for demographic purposes? You don’t even dare to write that they were pushed out of the valley just because they were Hindus. Kuch to desh ka socho. Do you have to publish such news to get international readers, funding and maybe an Award. Be an Indian, First! Shame that we have such people in this country.

  13. मुझे समझ नहीं आती कि जब जम्मू कश्मीर भारत का अभिन्न अंग है तो क्यों यह हो हल्ला मचा रहे हैं। हमारा सविधान यह हर एक भारतवासी को हक देता है कि वह कही भी और किसी भी राज्य में व्यापार, नौकरी कर सकता है। अब जो जम्मू कश्मीर के लोग दूसरे राज्यों में रह रहे हैं, वहां घर खरीद लिए हैं और नौकरियां व व्यापार कर हैं वह भी तो उस राज्य के वासियों का हक मार रहे हैं। जरा सोचो अगर उनको भी वहां से भाग जाने को कहे तो क्या होगा। चंद लोगों को दिक्कत है जिनकी कुर्सी और चौधराहट चली गई।

  14. What domicile change?? Why don’t you point out the increase of muslim population that too not from j and k – in and around jammu.
    Also, the demographic change had already happened when the Kashmiri pandits were mercilessly pushed out of their own lands on the ground of religion. Please if you gonna lament about demographic change then do it at an equal level

  15. Why so much hue and cry over this issue.there were thousands living in state since 1947 but not given residents status . The demographic changes are needed as to reverse compulsary expulsion of Hindu pandits from vally. No one talk about them .this is muslim vote bank politics.

  16. I am wondering what’s happen if other Indian states use domicile laws to not allow Induans of other states! Look at the western countries, Australia, Japan. People can buy property, change citizenships so easily. Unless and until you don’t allow free movement if cannot have growth. In fact I feel by not allowing Indians to settle in a place of his choosing is detrimental to that state or union territory.

  17. The focus should be on Corruption. What about the corrupt Congress Party MoU with China’s CCP?
    The Print is the only media channel who is not reporting on that major issue.
    Is it because The Print is also funded by China?

  18. What about the grave, very grave demographic changes that is happening all over India? Why just talk about Kashmir, presstitutes?

  19. When 90000 rohingyas got citizenship where were these jihadis.

    So a foreign Muslim can be citizen in J&K but a bhartiya cannot get domicile.

    And these jihadis call this Kashmiriyat insaaniyat jamhooriyat.

    The whole 2nd class arabs from Kashmir have to be cleansed and land of rishi kashyap has to be restored.

  20. Not sure what the issue is. If you are a legal citizen of a county, then you should be able to live and move freely about said country. Imagine, if the USA gave Hawaii special status and declared that no one from the other states could move or live there. That’s unconstitutional. Same for India, if one is an Indian then they deserve to be able to live anywhere in India with respect and dignity. Another thing I don’t understand is the domicile law, why are they residents of “J&K”? Why not residents of India?

  21. This is no different from rules applied in other states . Residents of Jammu and Kashmir can get domicile certificates in other states .
    The officers working there from 1990s deserve to be part of the state if he wants to . I will be unjustified to deny him the right .

  22. When Kashmiris can live and enjoy all perks of Indian nation why few can’t be granted at least be a domecile . How did they could ignore change of demographics by Pakistan in POK.

  23. J & K is part of India and a Union Territory. No power on this earth can stop any Indian from any corner of this country acquiring a piece of land over there.

  24. I am concerned why Kashmiri Muslims are given rights to buy property in rest of India where as the vice versa is not allowed. Government should grant all our defense personnel’s who served in Kashmir its domicile certificate as they protected the land from Porkistan and Land grabber mafia Shinaa.

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