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J&K regional parties say Modi govt’s amendment to new domicile law is ‘cosmetic’, a ‘bluff’

After receiving flak over its new domicile rule, the BJP government Friday made amendments but regional parties aren't convinced.

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Srinagar: Politicians in the newly created Union Territory (UT) are far from reconciling with the changes in job policies ushered in after the erstwhile state’s special status was abrogated last year.

Facing criticism in Jammu and Kashmir over the recently introduced domicile rules for job appointments, the Modi government on Friday amended the law. However regional parties described the changes as “cosmetic”, a “bluff” and a “token concession with a “backdoor left wide open”.

National Conference leader and former J&K CM Omar Abdullah for the first time after his release from detention last month raised the demand for the return of statehood and holding elections in J&K, where the elected government had fallen in summer 2018.

Steering clear from demands such as return of the now abrogated special status of J&K or the reversal of the bifurcation of the erstwhile state, Abdullah tweeted, “It’s high time the people of J&K get to decide the laws that will govern them rather than being subjected to the whims & fancies of the Centre where orders are issued in the morning & changes to the same order issued in the evening. Restore statehood, conduct elections,” said Abdullah in a twitter post sharing his party’s official stand on the amendments.

According to order issued on 31 March, all non-J&K locals — who have stayed here 15 years, served in central government services for 10 years, studied in the state for seven years and appeared in either the Class 10 or the Class 12 examinations, migrants registered by the Relief and Rehabilitation Commissioner and children of those who fill the above criteria as well as children of officials in other government services were made domiciles and eligible for government jobs.

Both non-domiciles and domiciles (including natives and non natives) could apply for all categories of jobs except for non-gazetted class four ones which were specially reserved for domiciles

After the amendment, jobs have been reserved only for J&K domiciles, which include both natives as well those non-natives who fulfil the government criteria to be a resident. The special status of J&K barred outsiders from acquiring land, jobs among other things.

Party spokesperson Imran Dar said the provision of keeping domicile for anyone staying in J&K for seven years and above has already accommodated lakhs of non-state subjects here. “There is not an iota of doubt that domicile law will change the demography of J&K and will essentially rob the rights of locals to jobs here,” he said.

Also read: Centre amends J&K’s new domicile order amid resentment, now reserves all jobs for residents

‘Token concession with a backdoor left wide open’

Threat of changing demography was also brought up by Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) through its official twitter handle. “While securing the future of our youth is pivotal, GOI should’ve addressed the apprehension regarding assault on demography of J&K. Token concession with a backdoor left wide open in the form of new domiciles does nothing to mitigate the aspersions cast on GOI’s urgent move during a life threatening pandemic,” the party tweeted.

Srinagar Mayor and spokesperson for former minister Sajad Lone’s Peoples Conference, Junaid Mattu said “Two orders in a space of a few days. The reality of the domicile as it stares in our faces is that it was changed unrecognizably and remains unrecognizable. It is not even a pale shadow of what it was irrespective of the two domicile orders issued in the last few days. The sensitive and cherished aspect of sub-identity remains unguarded and virtually in a state of ‘free for all’. What has been added is a totally avoidable and ancient art of political monkeying”.

“The youth of J&K have been befooled again, as it has been conveyed that all jobs are for them. When they understand the reality and realise that they have been cheated again, they will question the bluff of BJP and others those who are trying to mislead the youth and claim credit for the change,” said G.A. Mir, leader of Congress party in J&K.

‘Exemplary gesture’

The newest political outfit of J&K, the Apni Party, which draws its ranks from politicians who left their respective parties in March to join a platform that looks beyond the special status, along with Jammu based National Panthers Party (NPP) and the Bharatiya Janata party, welcomed the amendments made by the Modi government.

Expressing his gratitude to Union Home Minister Amit Shah and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, Apni’s party’s president and former PDP leader Altaf Bukhari said, “By this exemplary gesture, the youth of both regions of Jammu and Kashmir have ensured the domicile rights on jobs is an exclusive privilege which cannot be shared with non natives”.

The UT’s BJP spokesperson Altaf Thakur said party leaders from across J&K played a positive role in getting the domicile law amended within 24 hours.

Also read: J&K Police to trawl social media posts slamming domicile law, act if there’s ‘instigation’

‘Part of a manoeuvre’

Valley-based legal experts weighing on the subject described the 31 March order as well as the amendments part of a manoeuvre.

“They changed the nomenclature and permanent resident of J&K to domicile of J&K and within the domicile, they have created an avenue which enables any Indian to become domicile of the UT either by virtue of having served over here or by studying here. This will open floodgates for so many Indians claiming to be permanent residents of Jammu and Kashmir, thus, transforming J&K as desired by RSS,” legal expert Dr Sheikh Showkat Hussain told ThePrint.

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  1. A Look through the Mist :Erstwhile Permanent Residents / State subject of J&K not treated fairly in law for Domicile of UT of J&K : Daya Sagar
    While laying down the definition for Domicile of UT of J&K the amended law [ S.O 1229 (E) 0f 31-03-2020 read with S.O 1245 ( E ) of 03-04-2020] among other things now says : <Domicile for purposes of appointment to any service in Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir. Clause ―3A. (1) Any person who fulfils the following conditions shall be deemed to be a domicile of the Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir for the purposes of appointment to any post under the Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir or under a local or other authority (other than cantonment board) within the Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir:- (a) who has resided for a period of fifteen years in the Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir or has studied for a period of seven years and appeared in Class 10th /12th examination in an educational institution located in the Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir; or (b) who is registered as a migrant by the Relief and Rehabilitation Commissioner (Migrants) in the Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir. 3A (2) …….
    So strangely (I) While laying down the definition / conditions for Domicile of UT of J&K no any reference of the existing Permanent Residents of J&K has been made any where in the text of definition where as even when the definition of Permanent Resident of J&K was drafted for Section-6 of the erstwhile Constitution of J&K the reference of Indian citizens of the class of State Subjects of Princely State of J&K of Class-I and Class-II was particularly made . Since as per the new domicile law all except Kashmiri Migrants will be required to prove their credentials as regards stay ( though they may produce PRC or property documents in support ) to the satisfaction of the concerned revenue officer, most of the ‘local’ families are going to face problems . What about the posts that may be advertised in April /May 2020 if one goes with the recent statements that appeared in media with reference of government sources?
    (II) the displaced persons ( who were State Subjects of then Princely State of J&K) from areas of Indian State of J&K as occupied by Pakistan in 1947 (POJK DPs 1947) who have been staying outside J&K ( who could not get made even the permanent resident certificates – PRCs for their descendants in view so indifferent attitude of earlier governments towards them inspite of their being the 1st worst hit victims of Pakistan sponsored aggression/ terrorism as back as in 1947) have been the worst victim of S.O 1229 (E ) of 31-03-2020. So unfairly in the year 2016 also POJK DPs 1947 staying out side J&K were also denied even the petty sum of Rs.5.5 Lac sanctioned by Government of India as one time settlement of their un paid claims and have been again subjected to unfair treatment in a way by completely disowning them for the purposes of Domicile where as the 1990 Kashmiri migrants have been particularly mentioned in the order. Where as has there been a mention of Permanent Resident (PR) or state subject of J&K in the definition the 1990 registered Kashmiri migrants too could be covered along with all erstwhile Permanent Residents/ State Subjects of J&K.
    With the new law in place Kashmiri Migrants ( KM) can get domicile certificate without much difficulty only by showing registration with Relief Commissioner (migrants) as a proof where as even all erstwhile other Permanent Residents of J&K/ State Subjects ( including Kashmiri Hindu families who have not migrated from Kashmir valley in 1990) will have to prove their having ‘resided’ for 15 years ‘ in UT of J&K’ before respective Tehsildar of the area to get domicile certificate ( no doubt they can use PRC also as one of the proof which could have also been used by Kashmiri migrants -KM but KMs have been accommodated with special care/ reference of Relief Commissioner Migrants in the Domicile law).
    No reference of PRC in definition of Domicile UT of J&K while even Section-6 of J&K Constitution had mention of State Subjects of Class-I & II. In a way 1990 Kashmiri Migrants treated with preference not only over all other erstwhile State Subjects /Permanent Residents of J&K but also even over Kashmiri Hindu who did not migrate from Kashmir valley in 1990.
    Hence there is a need to amend the orders (i) by making reference of existing PRC holders/ erstwhile State Subjects of J&K in the definition (ii) by including also atleast the 5300 families of 1947 times from POJK as already registered in the records of Government ( if not those not registered, although in ONE HUNDRED EIGHTY THIRD REPORT of Department-related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs presented in Rajya Sabha on 22 Dec 2014 government of India was asked to do an exercise to register the leftover families too ) and it will be for those families ( registered as POJK DP of 1947 on arrival ) to prove their being residents of J&K of those times with the records pertaining to them or their elders whose names are there in Government records.
    Hence there is need for particularly amending sub Section 3A(1a and 1b) of Jammu and Kashmir Civil Services Decentralization and Recruitment) Act (Act no. XVI of 2010). The amended sub-Section 3A(1a &1b) could be :::
    And Sub Section- 3(2 ) to could laid along with accordingly (3A (2) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (1), following persons shall be domicile under sub-section (1) :- (a) children of those Central Government Officials , All India Services Officers, Officials of Public Sector Undertaking and Autonomous body of Central Government, Public Sector Banks, Officials of Statutory bodies, Officials of Central Universities and recognised Research institutes of Central Government who shall have served in Jammu and Kashmir for a total period of ten years; or (b) children of parents who fulfil any of the conditions in subsection (1); or (c) children of such residents of Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir as reside outside Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir in connection with their employment or business or other professional or vocational reasons but their parents fulfill any of the conditions provided in sub-section (1) ) .
    ( * Daya Sagar is a Sr Journalist / Analyst Jammu & Kashmir Affairs 9419796096)

  2. GOI should change demography of Jammu region to Hindu majority by settling people from other parts of India. Modi should settle Kashmiri pandits in districts of Jammu region..

  3. The million dollar question now is, when the locals now see more and more outsiders roaming their streets, will they sulk, or will they turn violent? Modi-Shah is confident that it will be the former. Only time will tell!

  4. India is a secular country and everyone is equal. Kashmiri or Punjabi we are all same and we should have same rights. Kuddos to BJP for keeping this secular and equality thread of India intact.

  5. It is essential to change the demography of J&K in favour of Hindus. It is payback time for the heinous treatment meted out to the Hindu refuges from West Pakistan whose only mistake was to seek refuge in a Muslim majority state. India should give incentives for Hindus to migrate to J&K until the Muslims there are rendered a minority. Dalits should take over the positions of power in J&K and avenge the heinous way they have been treated for 70+ years by the kashmiri Muslims.

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