Out­siders shifted to Kash­mir

Fears grow as In­dia grants res­i­dency to 25,000 non­lo­cals in dis­puted state

Arab News - - News Internatio­nal - San­jay Ku­mar New Delhi

Fears of de­mo­graphic en­gi­neer­ing in Jammu and Kash­mir are com­ing true fol­low­ing the In­dian gov­ern­ment’s ac­cep­tance of 25,000 res­i­dency ap­pli­ca­tions from out­siders.

In April Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi in­tro­duced a new set of laws giv­ing domi­cile rights to non-Kash­miri In­di­ans, a move which an­a­lysts said was aimed at al­ter­ing the de­mo­graphic char­ac­ter of the coun­try’s only Mus­lim-ma­jor­ity re­gion.

Re­ports in­di­cate that more than 33,000 res­i­dence ap­pli­ca­tions have been re­ceived, mostly in the Hindu-dom­i­nated Jammu re­gion, and 25,000 of those have been ac­cepted since mid-May. The lo­cal gov­ern­ment spokesper­son re­fused to com­ment.

Those who have lived in the state for 15 years, or stud­ied there for seven, are el­i­gi­ble to be­come per­ma­nent res­i­dents. Reg­is­tered mi­grants and the chil­dren of cen­tral gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials who have served in Jammu and Kash­mir for a pe­riod of 10 years are also al­lowed to ac­quire domi­cile cer­tifi­cates.

Ear­lier Navin Ku­mar Choud­hary, a res­i­dent of the eastern state of Bi­har who was a top bu­reau­crat in Jammu for 26 years, be­came the first non­lo­cal of­fi­cial to get a domi­cile cer­tifi­cate un­der the new law.

“All our mis­giv­ings about the new domi­cile rules in Jammu and

Kash­mir are com­ing to the fore,” the state’s for­mer chief min­is­ter and Na­tional Con­fer­ence (NC) leader Omar Ab­dul­lah said in a state­ment on Fri­day. “The NC op­posed the changes be­cause we could see a ne­far­i­ous de­sign be­hind the changes,” he said.

NC spokesman Im­ran Nabi on Satur­day de­scribed the de­vel­op­ment as “the last nail in the cof­fin and in­jus­tice” to the peo­ple of Kash­mir.

“This is a di­rect at­tack on our land and jobs,” he told Arab News. Ac­cord­ing to the re­gion’s for­mer rul­ing Peo­ple’s Demo­cratic Party, New Delhi was seek­ing to al­ter Kash­mir’s iden­tity.

“As the agenda un­folds, it be­comes clear that along with the in­tended de­mo­graphic change, the tar­get is the jobs, nat­u­ral re­sources, cul­tural iden­tity and ev­ery­thing that the peo­ple of Kash­mir had tried to save by ac­ced­ing to In­dia with firm con­sti­tu­tional guar­an­tees,” it said. Tur­moil in the state in­ten­si­fied last year when New Delhi an­nulled Ar­ti­cle 370 of the coun­try’s con­sti­tu­tion, which had guar­an­teed it spe­cial au­tonomous sta­tus as well as grant­ing lo­cals ex­clu­sive land and job rights.

FASTFACT

NC spokesman Im­ran Nabi de­scribed the de­vel­op­ment as ‘the last nail in the cof­fin and in­jus­tice’ to the peo­ple of Kash­mir.

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