Post uproaring across J&K, Centre amends domicile rule

The Union home ministry on Friday evening amended the new domicile rule for Jammu and Kashmir issued this week that had triggered howls of protest in the Kashmir valley. In its final form, only domiciled residents of J&K will be eligible to apply for recruitment in the union territory.

In the earlier version notified on Tuesday evening, the home ministry had reserved only subordinate posts for the domiciled residents. For other jobs under the union territory, people from any part of the country could apply.

The new order issued a little before midnight makes jobs in the UT administration out of bounds for non-residents.

There has, however, not been any change to the rule that will treat people from outside the union territory, who have been residents of the UT for 15 years, as domicile residents. The notification also extended domicile rights to central government employees who shall have served in the state for 10 years and their children.

Tuesday’s order had elicited howls of protest from the Kashmir parties. Leading the attack was National Conference leader Omar Abdullah, saying the law was an “insult heaped on injury”, referencing the downgrading of the state into a union territory and abrogating Article 370 that provided for its special status and now this change in law.

“Talk about suspect timing. At a time when all our efforts & attention should be focused on the #COVID outbreak the government slips in a new domicile law for J&K. Insult is heaped on injury when we see the law offers none of the protections that had been promised,” tweeted the former chief minister on April 1.

Altaf Bukhari of the newly-floated Jammu and Kashmir Apni Party described the order as a casual attempt, cosmetic in nature, and designed to hoodwink the people of J&K. He urged home minister Amit Shah to put the notification on hold.

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