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JK mainstream parties oppose new domicile law

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Omar calls it ‘insult to injury’, many say not right time to discuss such things

Ground Report, Srinagar:
The mainstream politicians of Jammu and Kashmir on Wednesday slammed the Government of India (GoI) over new domicile rules for new Union Territory (UT). The former chief minister and National Conference (NC) Vice President, Omar Abdullah said that it was an insult to injury of the people as there were none of the promised protections.
He also questioned the new law’s implementation at a time when the government’s “attention should be focussed on the COVID-19 outbreak”.

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The former chief minister of erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir said the new law was so hollow that even politicians with “Delhi’s blessings” were forced to criticize it. “You can imagine how hollow the domicile law is from the fact that even the new party created with Delhi’s blessings, whose leaders were lobbying in Delhi for this law, have been forced to criticise the #JKdomicilelaw,” he added.
Omar was apparently referring to the criticism of the domicile law by Jammu and Kashmir Apni Party founder Altaf Bukhari.
 Daughter of former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti, Iltija Mufti. Who is currently using her mother’s twitter handle said that “they (government) are in a maddening rush to appropriate our land & resources.”

“They are in a maddening rush to appropriate our land & resources. Wonder why they don’t show the same sense of urgency to save lives of thousands of Kashmiris jailed in & outside J&K?,” Mehbooba tweeted. “An atmosphere of fear prevails where people are scrambling to save their lives. Here we are fighting a battle between life & death but even that doesn’t deter them from trampling all over our dignity,” she wrote. “J&K’s new domicile law is part of a diabolical demographic project that began on 5th August with Article 370 abrogation. Imposing it in times of a global pandemic reveals a callous & paranoid mindset wilfully violating consent to ensure subjugation,” Mehbooa tweeted.
Taking a strong exception to the central government order defining domicile law for J&K, Jammu Kashmir Apni Party (JKAP) president Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari demanded that the order be put in abeyance till the COVID-19 pandemic is over. “It is most unfortunate that such an important order has been issued at a time when the whole country is battling for its survival and is under strict lockdown to stem spread of deadly Coronavirus disease. While JKAP had been vehemently demanding Domicile Rights on land and jobs for the people of Jammu and Kashmir, the order issued by the union government reflects a casual exercise carried out at bureaucratic level without taking aspirations and expectations of people into consideration,” Bukhari said in a statement.
He demanded that the order be put in abeyance till the country is out of dangers arising out of COVID-19 deadly disease. “This Order in its entirety is a casual attempt, cosmetic in nature, to hoodwink the people of Jammu and Kashmir 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,” the JKAP president remarked.

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Terming the Central Government’s order defining domicile law for Jammu and Kashmir against the interests of people of the erstwhile state, J&K Pradesh Congress Committee (JKPCC) Vice President and former MLC G N Monga said when the entire world has been engulfed by Coronavirus pandemic; the BJP government rubbed further salt into the wounds of people of J&K.In a statement issued to press here, he said it shows the true colours of the BJP. “The order has been deliberately issued at a time when the entire world, country as well as Jammu and Kashmir is facing a dreadful threat due to the outbreak of the deadly cornavirus resulting in a complete lockdown.”
“Instead of focusing on fighting against the deadly disease, the BJP government at the Center issued domicile law to further humiliate and subjugate people of J&K. The order is against the wishes and interests of people of J&K, especially its youth. The order contains no word related the protection of land and jobs and has been issued just for the sake of issuance,” Monga said.
Former Kulgam legislator and CPI (M) senior leader, Muhammad Yousuf Tarigami said the Central Government’s order defining domicile law for Jammu Kashmir is another hoax by the Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) leadership with the people of J&K. 
“It has escalated fears among the residents of Jammu and Kashmir losing not only jobs but also land to outsiders post revocation of Article 370 that granted J&K special status. According to the new order, domicile certificate is required for jobs upto level 4 only while other posts, including gazetted and non-gazetted are open for all citizens of India. After some time majority of such posts will be held by non-locals,” he said in a statement.
“15-years and 10-years cap, as has been put in 3A of the new domicile law is primarily meant for children of security forces personnel and other central government employees. It means after five years they may need to settle them here,” he said, adding that “unemployment rate in Jammu and Kashmir is already higher than the average national unemployment rate. With the new law, whatever little jobs in government sector were being provided to the youth of Jammu and Kashmir will no more be exclusive for them.”
Tarigami said that there are many places in India, like the tribal areas of Telangana, Himachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Sikkim where people from rest of the country can’t buy land, why target J&K only? When Maharaja Hari Singh was ruling J&K in 1927, Dogras and Kashmiri Pandits, who were more educated, agitiated domicile guarantees. They ensured that no outsiders must come and buy land in J&K or get jobs. The Maharaja brought State Subject in 1927 and made it into a law. No one objected then.
Peoples Conference (PC) leader and SMC Mayor, Junaid Azim Matoo said that the presidential order defining the domicile law issued at the depth of night while the world is under the grip of a deadly pandemic falls way short of expectations even for those who expected some relief some reconciliation process.

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“The new definition of ‘domicile’ is humiliating and insulting. Adds insult to injury. Doing away with district and divisional recruitment is an affront to the concept of affirmative action. We had no expectations but this particular order has made the disappointment even more intense. The government of the day has embarked on an erroneous path and seems to be in no mood to rectify wrongs and instead is content to be deluded in the world of “we know the best” for J&K and its people. The statement issued,” he said.
Pertinently, the government had issued a gazette notification announcing a slew of amendments to 138 Acts of Jammu and Kashmir that included protecting jobs up to Group-4 for only those who are domicile of the Union Territory.