With the J&K government's attempt to relax eligibility criteria for applicants from Jammu backfiring on the state government, the Union home ministry has decided to step in and relax physical eligibility conditions for applicants from the entire state rather than just Kashmir and Leh regions.
Home Minister P Chidambaram cleared the plan to relax the minimum conditions that applicants would have to meet to be recruited to central police forces after his meeting with the J&K CM this week.
So far, only applicants from Kashmir and Leh/Ladakh and those classified as Dogras were entitled for a relaxation in the minimum physical eligibility — 10 cm in height and 2 cm in chest — in police recruitment.
This implied that a large population of Jammu division was not eligible for the relaxation unless they belonged to the Dogra community.
The Abdullah government tried to extend this relaxation to the entire population of Jammu by the backdoor when he issued a government order enabling all residents to get a Dogra certificate.
But Kashmiri separatists led by hardliner SAS Geelani saw a political conspiracy in the order, shut down the Kashmir Valley and threatened to hit the streets if the government did not rescind the order on Dogra certificates.
Geelani argued that the move to give Dogra certificates to all was a conspiracy to efface the Muslim identity and assimilate everyone in Jammu into the Dogra fold to inflate the community's demographic figures.
The agitation set alarm bells ringing in the security establishment that saw the protests as another attempt to create a wedge between the people from Jammu and Kashmir, a possible repeat of the agitation following the controversial Amarnath land transfer in 2008.