The Bharatiya Janata Party on Tuesday welcomed the new domicile rules notified in Jammu and Kashmir. BJP National President Jagat Prakash Nadda said these rules will give “long overdue” rights to all refugees, as well as to Kashmiri Pandits who live outside the Union Territory.
“The new domicile rules gazetted in J&K are a welcome step,” Nadda tweeted. “This will give the long due rights to all refugees incl those from West Pak[istan], SC workers from rest of India settled in J&K for decades, children of KPs living outside J&K to claim domicile now.”
According to the new rules, people who came from West Pakistan, persons of the Valmiki caste, women marrying outside their community, non-registered Kashmiri migrants and displaced individuals will soon get a Jammu and Kashmir domicile. The provision applies to any person who is registered as a migrant by the Jammu and Kashmir relief and rehabilitation commissioner for migrants, PTI reported.
BJP Spokesperson Sambit Patra also welcomed the development. “The domicile rules notified now replace the erstwhile J&K permanent resident rules that stood abrogated along with the abrogation of Articles 370 and 35A,” he said. “This is something that India had long waited for.”
The Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Conference condemned the new domicile rules, and said they will be resisted. “The demographic change and disenfranchisement will further complicate the J&K issue which has claimed thousands of lives so far,” the party tweeted. “This will be resisted through all democratic, peaceful means.”
On April 1, the Centre introduced a new definition of domicile for Jammu and Kashmir, and said a person residing there for at least 15 years will now be eligible to be a permanent resident of the Union Territory. The new rule also granted domicile to those who have studied in Jammu and Kashmir for a period of seven years and have appeared for their Class 10 or 12 examinations from a school there.
Before August 5 last year – when the government abrogated the region’s special status under Article 370 of the Constitution and divided it into two Union Territories – the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly was constitutionally empowered to define a resident of the erstwhile state. These defined residents were alone eligible to apply for jobs or own immovable property.