SRINAGAR: Except the newly formed Jammu and Kashmir Apni Party of Altaf Bukhari, all major political parties in Kashmir have questioned the Government of India’s (GoI) modifications to its new domicile law for J&K.
The GoI modified rules in the new domicile law, issued earlier this week, after it triggered howls of protest in Kashmir valley. The modified form has made now only the domiciled residents of J&K eligible to apply for government jobs, as against the earlier version in which people from any part of the country could have applied.
The Jammu and Kashmir National Conference said the amendments were “another example of central governments toying around with J&K and its people, and a move bereft of any guarantee against demographic changes here”.
“Instead of directly applying for the jobs, the non-state subjects will first be doled out a domicile certificate and then given the jobs,” party spokesperson Imran Nabi Dar said, and added that the provision of keeping domicile for anyone staying in J&K for 7 years and above has already accommodated lakhs of non-state subjects here.
“There is not an iota of doubt that the domicile law will change the demography of J&K and will essentially rob the rights of locals to jobs here,” he said.
He said the silence of government of India on land rights in J&K was “suspicious”. Dar said that the domicile law was mute on the protection of land rights as there was nothing in the notification that offers protection to original subjects of J&K.
“Will J&K need to do another round of ‘begging’ before New Delhi does a ‘favour’ on this concern?” he asked.
The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) said the domicile legislation, even in its amended form, cannot hide the real intention behind the scrapping of the special status of the erstwhile state of J&K.
“The way in which the union government proclaimed a new job and domicile policy for the erstwhile state now clearly indicates that people at the helm of affairs in New Delhi are dealing with Jammu and Kashmir very casually and without application of mind,” PDP spokesperson and former legislator Firdous Tak said in a statement here.
According to him, the fact that a law which is to govern the 12 million population of Jammu and Kashmir was so offhandedly drafted that the GoI had to change it within 72 hours.
“This is the way the most sensitive region of country is being handled, only to further complicate the already chaotic situation of anarchy,” he added.
“The basics of domicile law now remains unchanged whereby people from outside the union territory, who have been residing here for 15 years, the employees of central government and PSUs and others will get an equal opportunity to compete for the limited jobs in the government sector,” he added.
The Sajad Lone-led Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Conference termed the law as an assault on Kashmiris. “It seems the inhabitants of J&K do not have the luxury of strategizing a way out of the bloody virus on prowl across the world. While families and societies across the world are in a state of panic, desperate to save themselves and their loved ones, the inhabitants here are unendingly and additionally in a state of psychological torture in the wake of orders issued at frequent intervals informing them and reminding them of their disempowered status,” chief Spokesperson Junaid Azim Mattu said in a statement.
He further stated, “Even in the most difficult of the times when the world is fighting the COVID pandemic, an order ascends from Delhi and descends in Srinagar – as conspicuously as possible. Two orders in a space of 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’”.
However, the Jammu Kashmir Apni Party (JKAP) of Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari welcomed the government of India’s move to amend the new domicile law so as to reserve all groups of jobs in non-Gazetted and Gazetted services for residents of J&K. Bukhari also pledged to continue the JKAP’s efforts to get this law revisited in its entirety till it satisfies the aspirations of people of Jammu and Kashmir.
“I highly appreciate the home minister and national security advisor for understanding the genuine reservations put forth by the people of J&K vis-à-vis the new order defining domicile law in the matter of employment for Jammu and Kashmir. Their timely intervention made the requisite safeguards possible,” he was quoted in a party statement.
Bukhari also conveyed his deep gratitude to the people, especially the youth of both the divisions of Jammu and Kashmir, for uniting behind the same cause for the first time in recent history.