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Kashmiri Pandits ‘Cornered & Concerned’ With New J&K Reorganisation Laws

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With amendments to Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir, the displaced Kashmiri Pandit community who were hounded out on in 1989-90 by radical organizations, have been both jubilant and circumspect.

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The newly formed Jammu and Kashmir Apni Party (JKAP) recently emphasised the necessity for developing a resolute policy to preserve the interests of all sections of people including Kashmiri Pandits post the introduction of J&K Reorganisation (Adaptation of State Laws) Order 2020, which defines the domiciles in the Union Territory.

“This can be ensured by undertaking fresh registration of the left out Kashmiri Pandits for domicile purposes since the new rules recognize only such of the migrants, who are registered as migrants by relief and rehabilitation commissioner,” said Vijay Bakaya, senior leader JKAP.

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Bakaya bemoaned that the provision does not include Kashmiri Pandits who were registered outside J&K in various other states and Union Territories across India.

He said the new rules have injected a sense of loss amongst a large number of Kashmiri Pandits, integral to Kashmir’s ethos, who were regrettably compelled by circumstances to leave the Kashmir Valley during the insurgency.

Additionally, he said, a large segment of Kashmiri Pandits had settled in various parts of the country prior to 1990 migration to pursue their careers but remained an integral part of the Kashmiri family.

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“Hitherto fore, they were entitled to be permanent residents notwithstanding their physical location outside the Valley,” Bakaya said, adding such citizens were covered by the law, introduced in 1954, which empowered successive state governments to define permanent residents of Jammu and Kashmir and reserve for them certain rights and privileges.

He urged the PM Modi and home minister Amit Shah to mediate in the matter and undertake required amendments in the new rules in the larger interests of people including Kashmiri Pandits.

Earlier, the Modi government introduced a new definition of domicile in the union territory through the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Adaptation of State Laws) Order, 2020.

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The new definition permits all Indian citizens to apply for government jobs in J&K if they fulfil certain requirements. The Modi government also abolished 29 laws from the erstwhile state of J&K and amended 109 other laws.  

Who can be domiciled or employed in J&K?

The new rule only reserves non-gazetted, class-four jobs for Jammu & Kashmir inhabitants. It also lists several requirements one should meet to pass as a domicile claimant — applicants should have resided in J&K for 15 years, or studied in the state for seven years and appeared in either the Class 10 or the Class 12 examination there.

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Children of central government officers (Army, paramilitary forces, IAS, IPS), and employees of public sector undertakings and banks, central universities etc who have served in Jammu & Kashmir for 10 years will also be eligible to apply for gazetted and non-gazetted government jobs. These include those who work outside the state.

Kashmiri Pandits who have been registered by the Relief and Rehabilitation Commissioner do not need to fulfil the above conditions and will be automatically eligible for a domicile certificate. However, as Bakaya stated, this leaves out a big chunk of Kashmiri Pandits who moved outside the valley prior to 1990 to pursue their careers or education.

 

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