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New Domicile Rule Will Open A Pandora’s Box In Jammu & Kashmir

A conflict zone, with more than ordinary business risks and frequent shutdowns is unlikely to invite any industrial sectors and employment opportunities; ironical to what is promised by the government.

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Domicile means any individual permanent legal residence determining the proper jurisdiction for matters such as taxation, voting and so on. The Central govt. has stripped the status of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir by turning it into a Union Territory and has now added an insult to its people by changing domicile law. The new Domicile Law will allow outsiders to apply for jobs in Kashmir and it has apparently legalized residences of thousands of outsiders in Kashmir, signifying a healthy competition in every aspect of life and a deceit to common people. The State Reorganization Act, 2019 was passed citing problems of terrorism, unemployment and under-development in Kashmir but change in domicile law is a move against the policy of the Act. It has been nine months since the Act was passed and the problems remain the same, with no further development, employment and in fact there is rise in terrorist activities (as claimed by Governments Council while arguing before Supreme Court on 4g ban). Where do the pains of a common Kashmiri lie, which he had to undergo during post abrogation clampdown when he was promised a better tomorrow, and opportunities for life? Where do promises of the government lie when it passes a new domicile law which is opposed by every section of society in Kashmir? Doesn’t it define the real intention of the government behind the Parent Act that it is not interested in real development of the region but is interested in changing the demography, strengthening the subjugation of minds, people and their resources?

People compare the Domicile move with Israel settlement policies and plan in Palestine, as can be foreseen that the original residents of the place will turn into minority due to possible influx of outsiders and rightly so for the real reasons behind the Domicile move seem to be intentionally mischievous. The move has been challenged by the two important political parties in J&K, JKNC and JKPDP, citing reason that it is disempowering the people of J&K and effecting a demographic change.

The New Domicile Rules are made in exercise of powers under Reorganization Act, 2019, the validity of which stands challenged in the Supreme Court through many petitions. The government by virtue of Constitutional law, is therefore under an obligation, to not exercise powers under the Act. However, it seems that the current regime is bent onto one approach only which is to challenge the populace set up in the valley in quick possible time and meet out the political objectives.

The move is likely to further jeopardize the lives, property and interests of people in Jammu and Kashmir because militant groups have warned outsiders will not be treated as civilians but RSS agents. The move is likely to  enhance the conflict to heat up and pave way for civilian riots, unidentified killings and bloodshed. The unfortunate mass exodus of Kashmiri pundits in 1990s is still regarded and used as a blot not only on resistance Movement (both political and armed) in Kashmir but it has attached a stigma to its people, when tried to link it to ethnic cleansing of Hindus in J&K by the hands of militants supported by common kashmiri people, keeping it however open to argument. The Domicile rules have lately invited a fierce criticism from many sections of people of Jammu as well , realizing a threat to their resources and safety. The recent killing of a Sarpanch in Anantnag defines the horrifying incidents happening in valley in the name of agents and workers, and the attitude of those in armed power, giving a clear cut message, which might be otherwise used as a ground by govt. to justify bringing demographic change for people living in Jammu to promise them a Hindu majority in Kashmir and thus end to selected killings and a safe “Gar_Wapsi”, again signifying loss of lives and game of political points. The government is in a way encouraging more bloodshed and what guarantee one has that outsiders in valley will be safe? Isn’t it a real risk with lives, if it anytime happens? The threat is visible and so are fierce oppositions to the domicile law from nook and corner of the society, leaving much in air and time to decide.

The kashmiri Pundits have their homeland in valley and are equally entitled to live in valley but with uncertainties and chaos due to new rules, the end to their sufferings and dream of “Gar_wapsi” seems a joke to their pain.

The “Healing Touch”  for people of J&K as promised by the central government has been only adding wounds, pains, miseries and practicing deceptions in real. Development and bloodshed are two extreme opposite points and a blood stained road, wall or building shall have no value in the eyes of people, and rightly so in the eyes of world countries, a peaceful poor society is much better than a disturbed royal environment (though hypothetical). The solution for J&K doesn’t lie in Domicile, when real problem hasn’t been kept in consideration while framing the policy. The sooner is the acknowledgement of real issue, the better would be the areas of governance.

A conflict zone, with more than ordinary business risks and frequent shutdowns is unlikely to invite any industrial sectors and employment opportunities; ironical to what is promised by the government. The general perception of youth is that the move is likely to affect their careers, opportunities and chances for economic survival, hence giving a sense of alienation and insecurity, which is concerning, for when young minds are experiencing despair and cynicism, a ruinous society is inevitable. Fear tilts ideas and mindsets become unproductive for any task ahead, signifying psychological weakness. If same environment is promoted, fear is genuine that youth are likely to have extremist and destructive approach about life and challenges in Kashmiri society.

The move is not only economically destructive but it can degrade the societal fabric, cultural inheritance, bring more fear and chaos with an increase in crime rate and more likely destroy a communities belief in the progress and prosperity of life, signifying a U-turn against modern world ideology of development. A common kashmiri is again left to wait in uncertainty and anxiety only to face and experience the result of mischievous policies made by the govt., holding good to the fact that “There is certainty of uncertainty in Kashmir”.

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