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Domicile rights of J-K: Apni Party says promises not kept, says it was the only way forward

The new political party that was set-up with blessings from the Centre says that the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah have given them assurances to protect the domicile rights of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

Written by Basharaat Masood | Srinagar | Updated: April 2, 2020 11:08:27 pm
Altaf Bukhari, J&K new party, Jammu and Kashmir Apni Party, kashmir news, J&K news, who is Altaf Bukhari, Altaf Bukhari profile, Jammu and Kashmir Apni Party members Former PDP minister Altaf Bukhari and other leaders at the launch of Apni Party in Srinagar on Sunday. (Express photo by Shuaib Masoodi )

As the Centre defined the new domicile rules for Jammu and Kashmir and gave domicile rights to those who have lived in the Union Territory for 15 years, the Jammu and Kashmir Apni Party said that the promises have not been kept.

The new political party that was set-up with blessings from the Centre and was ready to move beyond Article 370 says that the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah have given them assurances to protect the domicile rights of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

“When we went to meet (the Prime Minister), we put forward our demands, our apprehensions about the domicile laws. We were assured about protection of jobs and land,” Rafi Ahmad Mir, a senior leader of Apni Party told The Indian Express. “When we talked about the domicile rights, he (Prime Minister Modi) said this will happen. On that assurance, we were optimistic that it would happen (that the domicile rights of people of Jammu and Kashmir would be protected),” he added.

Mir said that not only PM Modi but Home Minister Amit Shah also assured them of protection of domicile rights during his meet with the leaders of the party.

Launched last month, the Apni Party, a conglomerate of political leaders from different mainstream political outfits that joined hands to create an alternate political alignment after the vacuum in mainstream politics following the abrogation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and detention of the mainstream political leadership, banked its hopes on the assurances from the Centre about the domicile rights of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

“We thought it would be a way forward, we thought, we will start from here, people will come along and other political parties would also support,” Mir said. “But when the notification was issued yesterday, it (assurance) was not there. It is not up to the mark, up to the expectations of the people. It is not alternate to what we had asked for – alternative to 35A,” he added.

Mir said that the Centre’s decision to reserve class IV employments for the people of Jammu and Kashmir and keep the other post open for everyone is “below dignity” for the people of the Union Territory.

On Tuesday, the Centre issued the gazette notification defining the domiciles of the Jammu and Kashmir and included anyone who has “resided for a period of fifteen years in the UT of J&K or has studied for a period of seven years and appeared in class 10th/12th examination in an educational institution located in the UT of J&K.”

On August 5, the Centre abrogated the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and downgraded the state into two Union Territories. The Centre abrogated the Article 35A of the Indian constitution that gave special powers to the legislative assembly of the erstwhile state to define a state subject of Jammu and Kashmir. Only the state subjects were allowed to purchase land or apply for the government jobs in the erstwhile state.

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