Consequent to the issue of Domicile definition of the UT of J&K by Government of India on April 1, 2020 (subsequently amended on April 3, 2020), there has been justifiable disquiet among the community about the following issues.
- Displaced Kashmiri Pandits registered with the Relief and Rehabilitation Commissioner of erstwhile J&K State come within the purview of this definition, but not those who got registered in various other parts of India.
- Due to various reasons beyond their control many displaced Kashmiri Pandits could not register themselves either at Jammu or outside. Therefore, the Union Government should allow these people to be registered at places where they are residing, now.
- According to this notification, those seeking domicile certificate are required to fill in a form and get it signed by various designated govt officials. This process, besides being cumbersome, will further leave the KPs at the mercy of Kashmiri bureaucracy which has never been well-disposed towards the community. It is felt that the registration papers of the displaced Kashmiri Pandits who are already registered with the Relief and Rehabilitation Commissioner inside or outside the UT of J&K, or those who may be allowed to register now, should be considered to serve this purpose.
- Ours is the only community in the country, which is identified with the place of its origin, Kashmir, and is known all over as Kashmiri Pandits. This has been so for centuries. Seven exoduses since the beginning of 14th century have seen the community getting dispersed throughout the world. Therefore, our community members living anywhere in the world too need to be considered for the grant of Domicile right.
- One of the biggest apprehensions of our community is that even though the present notification is only applicable for seeking jobs, it is hoped that such domicile conditions are not invoked for permanent settlement, purchase of land/property/ starting business, etc. That will negate all the advantages accrued through neutralization of Article 370 and 35 A.
We would like to inform the community that the above issues have been taken up with the Union Ministry of Home Affairs, through two communications, dated 9 April and 3 May 2020.
(M K Pajan)
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