J&K will have a domicile policy: Amit Shah

Union Home Minister denies move for demographic change in region.

Updated - December 03, 2021 06:48 am IST

Published - March 15, 2020 04:59 pm IST - New Delhi

Union Home Minister Amit Shah during a meeting with a delegation from J&K’s newly formed Apni Party led by Altaf Bukhari, in New Delhi on March 15, 2020. Photo courtesy: Twitter/@AmitShah

Union Home Minister Amit Shah during a meeting with a delegation from J&K’s newly formed Apni Party led by Altaf Bukhari, in New Delhi on March 15, 2020. Photo courtesy: Twitter/@AmitShah

Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Sunday assured members of the newly formed Apni Party of Jammu and Kashmir that the intention of the government was not to bring in any “demographic changes” in the region.

Mr. Shah informed a party delegation that J&K would have a “better domicile policy than other States in the country”.

Also read |Will work to restore J&K statehood: PM

On August 5, 2019, the Centre revoked the special status of J&K under Article 370 and Article 35A of the Constitution. The two revoked provisions had enabled the J&K Assembly to decide the “permanent residents” of the erstwhile State, prohibiting people from outside from buying property and ensuring job reservation for residents.

There are 12 States including Himachal Pradesh where provisions granting special status under Article 371 of the Constitution apply.

The special provision for J&K will ensure protection to domiciles of J&K in government jobs, educational institutions and land rights.

A statement issued by the Home Ministry on Sunday said Mr. Shah met a 24-member delegation from the Apni Party, led by Altaf Bukhari, and held discussions on some 40 issues. Mr. Shah said “visible changes will be seen on the ground in the next three to four months”.

The delegation was told that the statehood of J&K, which was made a Union Territory along with the abrogation of special status, would be restored at an early opportunity and “this is also good for India’s interest, as the region is a border area”.

Mr. Shah said all decisions on relaxation of restrictions in J&K that were being taken by the Prime Minister and implemented by the Home Ministry were based on ground realities and not under any pressure.

“He referred to steps like release of people from preventive detention, restoration of the Internet , relaxation in curfew, and added that even political prisoners would be freed in the time to come as the main objective of the government is that not a single person should die, be it a common Kashmiri or security personnel,” the Ministry’s statement said.

Mr. Shah told the delegation that soon, an attractive industrial policy and an economic development policy would be announced. 

A land bank had been created. “He said for the last 70 years, J&K attracted ₹13,000 crore and expressed hope that by (the year) 2024 three times more investment will come in the region as there is huge potential for the same,” the statement said.

‘Open to suggestions’

On the issues of reservation, the Home Minister said a commission would be set up soon and reiterated that no injustice would be done to Gujjars, nomads and other communities.

Mr. Shah said the government was open to suggestions and feedback from all including “old parties, new parties and individuals”.

Emerging from the meeting, Mr. Bukhari, who was a Minister in the previous Peoples Democratic Party government in J&K, denied allegations that the Apni Party was a “B” team of the BJP.

“We came with a message from the people of J&K. Time will show whether we are an ‘A’ team or ‘B’ team. We have been clearly told that there will be no demographic changes, and our land will not be snatched. We are here to discuss the economic distress and other problems faced by people in the past eight months,” Mr. Bukhari said. 

He said half the Apni Party members would be experienced people and the rest newcomers. 

By restricting the number of terms a person could become party president to two, the party would ensure that it did not turn into a dynasty-driven party. The delegation met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday.

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