POST abrogation of J&K’s special status a lot has changed on the ground. From its bifurcation to various administrative changes, the erstwhile state has endured it all.
The latest development that has sent shivers down the spine of people is the case of issuing domicile certificates to non locals. The issue caught the public eye when an IAS Officer of J&K cadre Navin K Choudhury’s domicile certificate was seen doing rounds on the social media platforms Facebook and Twitter. The said bureaucrat is originally from Bihar and became the domicile of J&K among 25,000 others, as reported by The Tribune.
The decision has been declared unconstitutional and arbitrary by the region’s two political rivals National Conference (NC) and People’s Democratic Party (PDP) while Congress has termed it, “morally and ethically wrong move”. It, however, didn’t deter the BJP-led NDA government in New Delhi to rethink on the matter.
Many people and also some regional political parties perceive it as an attempt to change the demography of the J&K. While demographic change undoubtedly continues to be the biggest and foremost concern of the people, my focus of discussion here is limited to domicile certificates and it’s impact on the job market and youth of Kashmir.
For the youth, the ordeal at this point in time should have been looking for employment and more development like most of the Indian unemployed youth aspire but the recent move of issuing domicile certificates to outsiders has compelled them to think otherwise.
While a larger group of native inhabitants have started applying for the domicile certificates, a major lot especially unemployed youth are in no mood to follow the suit, seeing the decision as arbitrary, the endorsement of which is against their conscience and self respect.
The J&K in general and the conflict ridden Valley in particular has not seen any recruitment drive since August 5, 2019 when Articles 370 and 35 A were scrapped by the BJP-led central government. But the recent recruitment drive initiated by government in various departments, the registration process of which has already begun, comes as a good news to some but a larger faction has decided to abstain from filling the application forms, calling it a lollipop from administration.
As per the recruitment notification only those who are domiciles of J&K can apply. The furnishing of the copy of the domicile certificate under the new law after selection list is issued by the recruitment board has been made mandatory.
Earlier Permanent Resident Certificate (PRC) was proof of residence in J&K but after the demotion to UT from a state and loss of special status, it has been replaced by new domicile law, which defines “domiciles” as those who have been residing in Jammu and Kashmir for a period of 15 years, or have studied here for seven years and appeared in Class 10/12 examination in educational institutions located in J&K.
Now since these young men are reluctant to apply for the domicile certificate, without which they cannot get a government job, the question arises what is in store for them? How are they going to survive without a job and what is brewing in their minds?
Although some people are ready to go for the private sector jobs, keeping in view the situation in Kashmir that remains tense due to conflict and insurgency here, there is not much scope in this field either.
Presently these people are in tens, tomorrow they will increase to hundreds and after sometime there will be thousands more. What option are they left with? What will they do if not employed?
It is no doubt a matter of grave concern for all of us, particularly persons at the helm of affairs have to think about it. If these educated people are alienated in such a way, a time will soon arrive when they can take decisions that will bring intolerable consequences not only to themselves but their families and the society in general because each one of us is a part of it.
Bachelors in Mass Communication from GDC Baramulla.
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