SRINAGAR: The UT administration in Jammu and Kashmir has issued 3.70 lakh domicile certificates in a month after the online facility for applications was launched a month back, Home Ministry sources told The Indian Express. Most of these certificates were issued in Jammu. The report said most of the certificate recipients are permanent residents.
“While the majority of the 3.7 lakh-odd granted domicile certificates are already permanent residents of the Union Territory, a significant proportion have been given out to those who despite living or serving in the state for years were not considered residents of the state due to provisions of Artice 35A, which now stands repealed,” the newspaper reported.
It quoted the MHA sources saying that between June 22, when the online facility was launched, and last week, over 2.9 lakh people were granted domicile certificates in Jammu against 79,300 in the Valley.
“There is no region-specific delay. More applications have been received from Jammu so more certificates have been issued there,” a Jammu and Kashmir administration official was quoted saying by the newspaper.
“Among those who have received domicile certificates are West Pakistan refugees, numbering over 20,000, nearly all of whom are reportedly covered now, and 2,000-odd sanitation workers brought and settled in the state but never accorded basic rights like voting,” the newspaper reported. “They were denied citizenship and hence access to education and jobs,” an MHA official told the newspaper, adding “700 Gurkhas too have been provided domicile certificates.”
Meanwhile, Dr Jitendra Singh, a minister in the PMO, has rejected the new Domicile Law will make a demographic change in Jammu and Kashmir. He said it was a “myth” created by politicians having “vested interests”.
“It is not the population of demography they are worried about, it is vote bank demography which has perturbed them,” Dr Singh was quoted saying in a report in Jammu based Daily Excelsior. “They feel if someone comes from outside and gets citizenship after living here for 10 years, as per the Domicile Law or an IAS officer is allocated AGMUT cadre and after serving there for a couple of years, he will also get voting right and like that students, Pakistani refugees or Gorkha settlers get similar voting rights, that will impact their limited captive vote bank on which they have been thriving on. Otherwise, if there is a healthy change of demography happening all over the world, why should J&K shy away of (sic) it?”
Dr Singh, according to the newspaper “while defending the Domicile law said there are certain advantages to it”. It added: “Now people are increasingly realising this façade of demography and debate is cooling down.”