Pakistan, Abdullah’s Reject New Kashmir Domicile Rules; BJP Calls It Historic Step

Pakistan has expectedly rejected new laws announced by the Modi government paving way for non-Kashmiris to obtain a permanent residence in the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir region.

Earlier on Monday, New Delhi notified new rules that now authorise those who have lived in Jammu and Kashmir for 15 years, or studied there for seven years, or appeared in class 10th or 12th examinations, can now apply for the domicile, a prerequisite for seeking jobs in the region.

Pakistan reacted sharply to the latest development, seeking the United Nations help to halt India from changing the demography of the region.

“The new domicile law is illegal and in clear violation of the relevant United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolutions, international law including the 4th Geneva Convention and bilateral agreements between Pakistan and India,” said a statement issued by the Pakistan foreign office.

“The domicile law is aimed at changing the demographic structure of IOJ&K and undermining the exercise by the Kashmiri people of their right to self-determination through free and impartial plebiscite as per the relevant UNSC Resolutions.

“We reiterate that such steps can neither change the disputed nature of Jammu and Kashmir recognised as such by the United Nations and the international community nor can they prejudice the inalienable right to self-determination of the Kashmiri people,” the statement added.

“Like the earlier illegal Indian actions, the people of IOJ&K have completely rejected the domicile law as “unacceptable”. The Kashmiri people will never accept the sinister “Hindutva” agenda of dispossessing them of their land, marginalizing them politically and economically, and depriving them of their distinct identity,” the foreign office further said.

“The United Nations and the international community must take immediate action to stop India from changing the demography and distinct identity of the IOJ&K and hold India accountable for the persistent violations of international law,” the foreign office demanded.

National Conference Reacts

The National Conference (NC), one of the leading regional political parties in J&K aggressively rejected Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Order, 2020 and Jammu and Kashmir Grant of Domicile Certificate (Procedure) Rules 2020.

The NC: “Both the S.O 1229 (E) Domicile law and S.O 166 prescribing the procedure for grant of Domicile Certificate have been made in exercise of power under the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act 2019, which is under challenge in a number of petitions before the Supreme Court and the hearing of these cases before the Constitution Bench of the SC has commenced and is proceeding ahead.

“With the constitutional validity of the Act impugned and the petitions under consideration of the Court, the Government of India in tune with the universally accepted principle of ‘constitutional proprietary’ is under an obligation to desist from exercising powers under the impugned Act including the power to promulgate Domicile law and Rules in question.”

The statement said that though the Domicile Order and Rules “would not be acceptable at any point of time” because of the well-known stand of the Party that “the measures are aimed at disempowering the people of Jammu and Kashmir and effecting demographic change”, yet the timing of the Order and Procedure in question is “also grossly inappropriate and unethical inasmuch as when the entire mankind including the people of Jammu and Kashmir is incomplete lockdown engaged in the battle of survival against Coronavirus, the Government of India has found this as an opportune time to push in the measures palpably anti-people and unconstitutional”.

The NC said – “anti-people as not only because these are vague and misleading opening floodgates, but these would also push the people with valid state subject certificates to ambiguity and difficulty as the benefits would not be available unless they obtain Domicile Certificates under the Rules”.

BJP Joyous

A serious miscarriage of history has been undone after 70 years with the notification of the new domicile rules by the Jammu and Kashmir administration, Union Minister Jitendra Singh said on Tuesday.

Terming the new rules as the dawn of a new era for the Union Territory, he said “history will vindicate us” and prove that this course correction was in keeping with the principle of equality and the norms of a healthy democracy.

People belonging to West Pakistan, Valmikis, women marrying outside communities, non-registered Kashmiri migrants, displaced people will soon get domicile under a new set of rules issued by the Jammu and Kashmir administration.

Singh noted that three generations of people of Jammu and Kashmir had been denied their right to live with justice and dignity, and it was heartening to see this redemption happening in this lifetime. This – notification of new rules — will prove to be a blessing for future generations, he said.

While West Pakistan refugees and displaced persons from Pakistan administered Jammu and Kashmir have been given their rightful rights, Singh said discrimination of several decades has been defeated and those who are questioning this move are only exposing themselves to the allegation that for the last 70 years they had been flourishing on politics of discrimination.

“It is an irony that all India service officers, including IAS and IPS, who devoted 30 to 35 years of their life to serve in Jammu and Kashmir were, at the end of the day, after superannuation, asked to pack up, leave and look for a place elsewhere to settle,” he said.

Similarly, a gross injustice was being done to the children of these officials who did their entire schooling in Jammu and Kashmir but were prohibited from applying for admission to higher education institutions there, the minister said.