Amit Shah reworks Kashmir’s domicile law, includes residents for 15 yrs
Nearly eight months after the Centre scrapped Jammu and Kashmir’s special status, the government has redefined domicile rules for the union territory and ordered that only people who fulfill this criteria are eligible to be appointed to junior posts in the bureaucracy and the constabulary.
The new domicile condition in the recruitment law is designed to address concerns that the union territory status for Jammu and Kashmir would lead to demographic changes since people from any part of the country could apply for jobs and settle in J&K.
The domicile rule would apply for recruitment to all posts that come with a basic salary of Rs 25,500.
Before Parliament scrapped Article 370, only people considered permanent residents of the erstwhile state could get jobs in the state government. When a delegation of Kashmiri politicians met Home Minister Amit Shah last month, he had assured them that the Centre did not intend to carry out demographic changes in the union territory.
Shah had also promised that the new domicile rule for J&K would be better than any other state.
But the new rule triggered howls of protest from Jammu and Kashmir parties.
Altaf Bukhari of the Jammu and Kashmir Apni Party, who had met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Amit Shah on his Delhi visit last month, was the first to lash out at the move. The former PDP minister who has floated a new party described the order as a casual attempt, cosmetic in nature, and designed to hoodwink the people of J&K. He asked Shah to put the notification on hold.
Former chief minister Omar Abdullah criticised the timing of the order as well. ”Insult is heaped on injury when we see the law offers none of the protections that had been promised,” he tweeted.
As evidence, Omar Abdullah pointed to Altaf Bukhari’s reaction.
“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 said.
According to Tuesday evening’s notification by the home ministry, any person who has stayed in J&K for 15 years or has studied for a period of seven years and appeared in Class 10th/12th examination will be deemed as domicile.
The government order said children of central government officials, All India Services, officials of Public Sector Undertakings and autonomous bodies of central government, public sector banks, officials of statutory bodies, officials of central universities and recognized research institutes of central government who have served in Jammu and Kashmir for a total period of 10 years will also be considered to be domiciled in the union territory.
Children of residents of Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir who reside outside the union territory in connection with their employment, business or other professional or vocational reasons will also be treated to be domiciled in the UT if their parents fulfil the eligibility criteria to get a domicile certificate.