The Jammu administration on Wednesday withdrew a notification issued two days earlier, directing revenue officials to provide residence certificates to those living in the district for more than a year in order to register them as voters.
The directive had received criticism from political parties in Kashmir, who alleged that it was an attempt to influence the upcoming Assembly elections, likely to be held next year.
The new order stated that the directive has been withdrawn and should be treated as being void, according to ANI.
Avny Lavasa, the district poll officer and deputy commissioner of Jammu, had said in the earlier order that voters were facing difficulties to register themselves as many of them did not have proof of residence prescribed by the Election Commission such as Aadhaar card, passport and bank passbook.
The revision of electoral rolls in Jammu and Kashmir is significant as the exercise is being carried out for the first time since the abrogation of its special status.
Until August 2019, when the status was revoked, voting rights were restricted to those defined as permanent residents of Jammu and Kashmir.
Former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti had called the latest decision a first step toward Centre’s “colonial settler project” in the region.
Mufti also accused the BJP of creating religious and regional divisions between Jammu and Kashmir and urged the Dogras and the Kashmiris to thwart such attempts.
The National Conference had claimed that the move was a part of the Centre’s plan to add 25 lakh non-voters in Jammu and Kashmir. “BJP is scared of the elections and knows it will lose badly,” the party tweeted. “People of J&K must defeat these conspiracies at the ballot box.”
In August, an uproar had erupted after Jammu and Kashmir Chief Electoral Officer Hirdesh Kumar said that that the Union Territory could get 25 lakh more voters. That included those originally from outside Jammu and Kashmir, such as migrant workers and security forces, but living in the region