After a unified backlash from all political parties in Jammu and Kashmir including the BJP’s local unit, the centre has changed a law involving government jobs in the union territory. All jobs will now be reserved for permanent residents of the union territory, the amendment said late Friday in a dramatic 180-flip of a move announced just two days ago.
“The amendment will satisfy all. As it was a demand from all parties of both regions,” a senior official in the government told NDTV about the law that came around eight months after the centre withdrew special status to the former state under Article 370 and bifurcated it into two union territories.
The notification of domicile rules for the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir had triggered a major row as it not only loosened the criteria of who can claim residency but also opened up higher-level jobs open for all and kept only lower level jobs, such as junior assistant and peon, reserved for locals.
The local unit of the BJP, as well as the party’s ideological mentor Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), raised its concerns with Union Home Minister Amit Shah and other members of the national leadership.
Former Chief Minister and National Conference leader Omar Abdullah had described it “as an insult being heaped on injury”.
“Talk about suspect timing. At a time when all our efforts and attention should be focused on the COVID-19 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 promised,” Mr Abdullah tweeted.
The notification was also criticised by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), which warned the new law would give rise to “massive problems for residents of J&K”.
“The domicile law, as it appears, is not only trying to shake the boundaries of an already existing state, but it is also trying to give rise to massive problems for residents of J&K,” the party said on Twitter.
J&K Apni Party president Altaf Bukhari, who met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah recently in Delhi to discuss domicile laws, said, “This order in its entirety is a casual attempt, cosmetic in nature, to hoodwink the people of J&K who genuinely believed that post October 31, 2019, their rights and privileges in the matter of employment and other rights would remain as it had been.”