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Kashmir parties oppose Centre’s new domicile law

J&K Apni Party leader Altaf Bukhari./ File photo   | Photo Credit: Nissar Ahmad

Jammu& Kashmir’s regional parties on Wednesday criticised and opposed the Centre’s new domicile laws for the Union Territory (UT), introduced eight months after the former State’s special status was revoked on August 5 last year.

Former chief minister and National Conference (NC) vice president Omar Abdullah described it as “an insult being heaped on injury”. “The law offers none of the protections that had been promised. It’s hollow. It has come when all our efforts and attention should be focused on the COVID outbreak,” said Mr. Abdullah.

Also read: Govt. jobs to be reserved only for domiciles of J&K, says Centre

A party spokesman Aga Syed Ruhullah Mehdi said several States like Himachal Pradesh have land rights that are adequately safeguarded by domicile laws but no such provision is included in J&K’s domicile law. “It’s shocking, a tehsildar has been empowered to dole out domicile certificates. It’s discriminatory to J&K’s residents,” he said.

J&K Apni Party president Altaf Bukhari, who met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah recently in Delhi to discuss domicile laws, said, “This order in its entirety is a casual attempt, cosmetic in nature, to hoodwink the people of J&K who genuinely believed that post October 31, 2019, their rights and privileges in the matter of employment and other rights would remain as it had been.”

Kashmir parties oppose Centre’s new domicile law

Demanding that the order be put in abeyance, Mr. Bukhari said, “It’s unacceptable. There are no tangible legal and constitutional mechanisms to safeguard and protect the privileges of people of J&K. There are sections in the order that are antithesis to what was promised by the PM and the HM on the floor of Parliament,” he said.

Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) general secretary Surinder Choudhary said the Centre’s order “is frighteningly ambivalent, irresolute and akin to rubbing salt to the people’s wounds”.

“It’s ill-timed, very badly drafted and the outcome of confused and chaotic bureaucracy. It should be immediately rolled back. The people in the corridors of power are playing mind games with the perturbed people of J&K, battling hard times for decades,” said Mr. Singh.

A spokesman of the Peoples Conference (PC), headed by Sajad Lone, said: “It’s humiliating and insulting. Doing away with district and divisional recruitment, is an affront to the concept of affirmative action. The Centre has embarked on an erroneous path and seems to be in no mood to rectify wrongs.”

He said just the lowest rung Class 4 jobs have been reserved for locals. “Ironically, the order has come in the dead of night and in the middle of one of the worst medical disasters facing the world,” the PC spokesman said.

CPI(M) leader M.Y. Tarigami said the law has escalated fears among the locals of losing not only jobs but also land to outsiders. “After some time the majority of posts will be held by non-locals. A 15-year and 10-year cap is primarily meant for children of security personnel and other central government employees. After five years, they will settle them here,” asserted Mr. Tarigami.

He said unlike the tribal areas of Telangana, Himachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Sikkim, where people from rest of the country can’t buy land, only J&K was being targeted.

“The arbitrary decision of the BJP government to revoke Articles 370 and 35-A was the murder of democracy. The manner in which the Centre is dealing with J&K is a grave warning about the danger posed to erstwhile State’s rights and federalism. Such moves have to be unitedly opposed,” added Mr. Tarigami.

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Printable version | Jun 13, 2021 11:03:31 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/kashmir-parties-oppose-centres-new-domicile-law/article31225866.ece

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