April 05, 2020

JAMMU AND KASHMIR: Domicile Agenda during Public Health Emergency is Criminal

THE central government’s order, defining the domicile law for Jammu and Kashmir is criminal, said Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami, Central Committee member of the CPI(M). In a statement released to the press on April 1, Tarigami termed the act of the central government as criminal, as the country is battling against Covid-19, but the BJP is busy in manipulating its agenda in Jammu and Kashmir. He said the BJP leadership has befooled the people of Jammu and Kashmir with the changes being  brought out in the domicile law of the J&K.

Tarigami said, the decision has escalated fear 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 a special status. According to the new order, domicile certificate is required for jobs up to level ‘4’ only, while other posts, including gazetted and non-gazetted are open for all citizens of India. But with the changes in the domicile, after some time majority of such posts will be held by non-locals.

The 15-year and 10-year cap, which 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 that after five years, the government intends to settle the security personnel in Jammu and Kashmir.

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.

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, then why target J&K only, asked Tarigami. When Maharaja Hari Singh was ruling J&K in 1927, Dogras and Kashmiri Pandits, who were more educated, agitated for domicile guarantees. They ensured that no outsiders must come and buy land in J&K or get jobs. The Maharaja brought it under state subject in 1927 and made it into a law. No one objected then.

The arbitrary decision of the BJP government to revoke Articles 370 and 35-A was the murder of democracy and an attack on the constitution. The BJP violated the norms to convert J&K state into a union territory overnight without the consent of the stakeholders. The centre was defying all democratic norms to achieve its objectives.

The manner in which the government of India 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 for the welfare of the people and integrity of the country.

Under the prevailing situation, the least that government of India can do is to release political leaders and workers languishing in different jails and start a credible process of dialogue with all shades of opinion.

The position of the CPI(M) is clear over the issue as it wants restoration of Articles 370 and 35A in its original form. In fact the CPI(M) and others have already challenged Presidential Order CO 272 of 5-08-2019, Presidential Order CO 272 of 6-08-2019 and J&K Reorganisation Act, 2019 in the Supreme Court of India.