STATE TIMES NEWS New Delhi: The government on Wednesday 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. The notification said among the laws amended is the Jammu and Kashmir Civil Services (Decentralisation and Recruitment) Act. The government has inserted a clause for domicile category under which a person has to stay in the Union Territory for a period of 15 years. Children of all-India services personnel who have served there for 10 years also come under the category.
J&K parties slam Centre’s new domicile rules
Srinagar: Political parties in the valley on Wednesday criticised the Centre’s new domicile rules for Jammu and Kashmir, saying it was adding insult to injury of the people as there were none of the promised protections. While the National Conference termed the new rules as hollow, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said the rules will give rise to massive problems for residents of J-K. “Talk about suspect timing. At a time when all our efforts & attention should be focused on the #COVID outbreak the government slips in a new domicile law for J&K. Insult is heaped on injury when we see the law offers none of the protections that had been promised,” National Conference vice-president Omar Abdullah said in a series of tweets. 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 criticise 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. Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said the rules will give rise to massive problems for residents of J-K. The domicile law as it appears is not only trying to shake the boundaries of an already existing state, but it is also trying to give rise to massive problems for residents of J&K, the PDP said on its official Twitter handle. The party said the Centre’s manipulation of the law would only further alienate the people. As the GOI (government of India) tries to manipulate a law that provides guarantees to Kashmiris, it is only further alienating people, by depriving them of their constitutional rights. When GOI imposes orders that relegate elected Kashmiri leaders to nothingness, GOI shows how it doesn’t want local Kashmiris to govern the land they fought for! the PDP said. Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Conference (JKPC) led by Sajad Gani Lone said 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 and some reconciliation process. 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, party chief spokesperson Junaid Azim Mattu said. Mattu said 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 lowest rung in jobs has been reserved for locals – not even non-gazetted, but Class IV jobs. There seems to be a clear intent of conveying yet another serving of humiliation and insult to the people of J-K after what transpired on August 5. What is ironically historical though is that in the middle of one of the worst medical disasters facing the world, the Government of the day has the time and patience to script a disaster of its own. During the COVID-19 battle, the people of J-K didn’t deserve more humiliation, he said. The recently-floated Jammu Kashmir Apni Party (JKAP) said it was most unfortunate that such an important order was issued at a time when the whole country was battling for its survival and was 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, JKAP president Syed Altaf Bukhari said in a statement here. He demanded that the order be put in abeyance till the country is out of dangers arising out of COVID-19 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, he said. Bukhari said being a government issued order and not a law made by Parliament, the new gazette notification regarding domicile rule for J-K is not immune to a judicial review. The order issued is totally unacceptable to JKAP. In the matter of employment non Gazetted, Gazetted posts in the service and admissions to professional colleges, a tangible legal and constitutional mechanism was supposed to be put in place to safeguard and protect these privileges of the people of Jammu and Kashmir who had been the permanent residents of J&K, he said. Former MLA NPP President Balwant Singh Mankotia strongly expressed resentment over the newly Domicile Law passed by Central Government. “The whole nation is already suffering from pandemic COVID-19 and in this critical situation Central Government passed the new Domicile law in dictatorial way as no one can assemble on roads to oppose it,” Mankotia said adding that this law has put the future of our educated youth in dark. “The new domicile law seeks our local youth only for class IV post as all the upper posts can be applied by the candidates of all over the country, which has caused the strong resentment among the educated youth,” he blamed. Former Minister and President DCC Kathua, Dr Manohar Lal Sharma criticized Government of India and J&K BJP leadership for playing with sentiments of people and betraying the educated unemployed youth of J&K. In a statement issued here, the former minister said that this law is not accepted in any condition and should be quashed at the earliest in interest of the people of J&K. Mankotia also flayed Central Government for increasing the rate of toll tax & installing new toll plaza in Kathua. Mankotia demanded immediate withdrawal of Domicile Law and removal of new toll plaza as well as revised the hiked rates of toll tax. Condemning the order of the central government, former Minister and General Secretary JKPCC, Yogesh Sawhney said that the new domicile order with regards to jobs in J&K is a cruel trick played with the rights of the youth of the region. “April 1 is often called April Fool’s Day. This time the government took it too seriously and made fool of the people of J&K,” he said.
The law now says that no person shall be eligible for appointment to a post carrying a pay scale of not more than Group-4 (Rs 25,500) unless he is a domicile of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir. Group-4 is equivalent to the rank of constable in police parlance. As many as 28 of the 138 Acts have been repealed as the government laid down a procedure for being a domicile of the Union Territory, which came into existence on October 31, 2019, after the Centre abrogated special status to the erstwhile state and bifurcated it into UTs of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh. According to the procedure, anyone who has resided for 15 years in Jammu and Kashmir or has studied for seven years and appeared in Class 10 and Class 12 examinations in an educational institution located in the Union Territory is a domicile. Anyone who is registered as a migrant by the Relief and Rehabilitation Commissioner (Migrants) will also be deemed to be a domicile. The others who can be deemed to be a domicile include children of those central government officials, all- India services officers, officials of public sector undertakings and autonomous bodies of the central government, public sector banks, officials of statutory bodies, central university officials and those of recognised research institutes of the central government who have served in Jammu and Kashmir for 10 years. Children of those who fulfil any of the conditions or children of such residents of Jammu and Kashmir as reside outside Union Territory in connection with their employment or business or other professional or vocational reasons but their parents fulfil any of the conditions provided in sub-section, shall also be deemed to be domicile,” the notification said.
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