Union Minister of State in the PMO, Dr Jitendra Singh, on Sunday called upon the ruling PDP-BJP coalition government to bring in the legislation for restoring Dogra certificate to its original format extending relaxation during recruitment to Army and para military forces to youth from Jammu region.
“The Dogra certificate was there for long and it helped the youth of the region to get accommodated in the defense services. But the Congress government diluted the certificate in the name of equality between the two regions, but it helped nobody,” he told reporters.
Controversy over issuance of Dogra certificate, which provided relaxation in physical measurements to youth from specific areas of Jammu region, had first erupted in 2011 when the then UPA government issued a circular extending relaxation in recruitment norms for Dogra youth of Jammu region who wish to join the Central Armed Police Forces. Taking a cue from the Union Home Ministry’s notification, the then Revenue Minister Raman Bhalla in the Omar Abdullah-led National Conference-Congress coalition government had ordered all the respective Deputy Commissioners to issue Dogra certificates to youth of Jammu.
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This led to angry reactions from opposition mainstream political parties and also the separatists from Valley forcing the then Congress-NC government rescind its order about issuance of Dogra certificates. The then UPA government at the Centre also amended its circular extending benefits of relaxation in recruitment to Central Armed Police Forces to all permanent residents of the state instead of only those in possession of Dogra certificate.
“Let me make it clear that this certificate is not based on any region, religion, caste, or any other consideration. It is based on scientific observation that there have been some sections of youth living in certain Kandi areas of Jammu who are better fitting to join the forces. Just as you have certain communities in Kumaon area, or people among the Gorkhas, likewise you have the Dogras,’’ pointed out the union minister who is also the Lok Sabha MP from Udhampur-Doda constituency.
“It (Dogra certificate) dates back not to the Maharaja, but British time. It was during the British period that an idea had cropped up to have Dogra Regiment on the pattern of Kumaon ande the Gorkhas’’. Quoting General Manekshah that “when anybody says that he is not afraid of dying then either he is lying or he is a Gorkha’’, Singh said “so some sections were identified by Britishers as better equipped to serve with the forces and they included youth from Kandi areas of Jammu.
As these youth were believed to be better suited to join the forces, therefore not withstanding all other considerations, some relaxations like chest measurement and height were given so that they could get an opportunity to serve the nation to the best of their potential, he pointed out. “If we have not been able to appreciate that it is because of our ignorance,’’ he said when his attention was drawn towards its opposition from the then opposition PDP and separatists during 2011 as an attempt to create polarization in the state on religious and regional lines.
“It was being issued earlier also,’’ he pointed out. When asked whether this certificate will be issued to youth all over Jammu region, he said that “there are certain parameters in place which I will not be able to spell off hand as I do not want to err on that’’. “But it was there already…it was diluted in the name of so called equality and the result of this is that no one is benefitted,’’ he added.
In support of his stand, he pointed out `you have certain communities in any society who are better equipped to join the civil services or the administrative services. Now you ask them to becomes cops or soldiers, they would not be able to do justice there. So we are doing justice to none,’’ he said, adding that “I think dilution of Dogra certificate was motivated by certain political or sectarian considerations which is the other way round’’.