J&K’s domicile rules brings hope to under-privileged communities

Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor G.C. Murmu addresses at the inauguration of the two-day Conference on ‘Ek Bharat Shreshta Bharat’ with focus on ‘Jal Shakti’ and ‘Disaster Management’, organised by the Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances (DARPG), Government of India, in collaboration with Governments of Tamil Nadu and Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir; in Jammu on Nov 30, 2019. (Photo: IANS/PIB)

Jammu, June 24 (IANS) Hope is running high among J&K’s under-privileged communities that had remained confined to menial work and others engaged in various professions that justice will be done to them after the UT government started issuing domicile certificates as per the new rules.

After the abrogation of the Constitution’s Articles 370 and 35A in August last year, permanent state subject rules and the exclusive rights on land ownership were abolished and the state was divided into two Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh.

J&K’s Lt Governor, G.C. Murmu inaugurated the issuance of domicile certificates on Monday and the first such certificate was given to a girl from Sopore town in the Kashmir Valley.

For nearly 70 years, members of the under-privileged Valmiki Samaj who were brought into the state from neighbouring Punjab by the erstwhile Dogra Maharajas, have been denied government jobs, resident rights etc to keep them away from the privileged class of state subjects as defined by the permanent resident rules made by the Dogra rulers.

Ironically, the members of the Valmiki Samaj were promised government jobs, but it was finally decided that they could only apply for the posts of sweepers.

“That disgraceful, inhuman discrimination is now finally over. We can now get domicile certificates and also apply for any government job,” said a member of the Valmiki Samaj.

Also, scores of people belonging to Bihar, UP, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha etc working in J&K for many decades as barbers, masons, carpenters, electricians, etc always remained “outsiders” even though their children were born in the erstwhile state.

According to the domicile law whose rules and procedures were notified last month, anybody from outside J&K can obtain a domicile certificates if he/she has lived here for 15 years.

A child of such a family would get the domicile certificate without any question if they has passed Class 10 and class 12 exam from any educational institution of J&K.

Public servants – of the Central government, public sector banks and government corporations – are also eligible to get the domicile certificates provided they have been serving in J&K for 10 years.

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