Gorkha Soldiers, Valmikis Main Beneficiaries of Domicile Intervention, Reports

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SRINAGAR: Gorkha soldiers and the Valmiks are the main beneficiaries of the domicile certificates that the UT administration has started issuing last month. The Times of India reported that over 6600 applicants, mostly retired Gorkha soldiers and officers, have got the domicile certificate allowing them “to buy property and apply for jobs” in Jammu and Kashmir.

The oldest and the newest habitation: Gujjarnagar(L) and Gorkhanagar(R) in Jammu on two banks of Tawi.

Vijay Kumar Sharma, additional deputy commissioner (revenue), Jammu told the newspaper that his office has issued more than 5,900 certificates already and in Kashmir, about 700 certificates were, many of them to former Gorkha soldiers and officers.

Dr Rohit Sharma, tehsildar of Bahu (Jammu) told the newspaper that against 3500 applications from the soldiers; nearly 2,500 Gorkhas have already got the certificate.

Gorkhas, according to the newspaper, were invited by the Maharaja from Nepal almost 150 years back to serve his army. Since then they have been living here without rights to apply for jobs in Jammu and Kashmir. They, however, have been serving the army. Gorkhas’ have been serving the army for generations and they mostly live in Jammu.

“My father Harak Singh had served in the army of the then ruler Maharaja Hari Singh,” the newspaper quoted a retired soldier, Prem Bahadur, 68, saying. “My brother Om Prakash and I went on to join the Gorkha Rifles. I retired as a hawaldar, and he as a lieutenant.” After getting the certificate, he is happy that his MBA son can apply for a job in Jammu and Kashmir. “And I can die in peace knowing I served India.”

A delegation of Gorkha community in Jammu called on Lt Governor GC Murmu and thanked him for enabling them to be domiciles of Jammu and Kashmir.

The report carried many photographs showing the beneficiaries flaunting their newly acquired status – a domicile of Jammu and Kashmir. “Lakshmi Devi, 72, a widow, of Gorkha ethnicity, shows her domicile which makes a citizen of Jammu and Kashmir. Her husband served Indian Army in 64, Artillery Regiment for 30 years,” one caption of an old woman carrying a certificate reads.

An unnamed officer has told the newspaper that they have received at least 33,000 applications so far. “We get an average of 200 applications a day,” an official said. Under the rules, the officers, tehsildar and above, can be penalized up to Rs 50,000 if they do not issue the certificate within 15 days. Permanent residents apart, those eligible include non-locals who had lived in Jammu and Kashmir for 15 years, their children, officers with central government and central institutions and anyone who has studied in Jammu and Kashmir for seven years and appeared in the Class X or XII examinations.

“Around a total of one lakh, Gorkhas live in Jammu and Kashmir now,” English Jagran reported. “Prior to this decision, the community was allowed to cast vote in local and assembly polls but were barred from owning land and property in the state.”

Similarly, the Valmiki community is another major beneficiary. They were brought into Jammu and Kashmir in 1957 by Bakhshi Government from Punjab after local sanitation workers went on a strike.

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