After strong protest from local political parties, including the state unit of the BJP, the Narendra Modi government on Friday amended the new domicile clause redefining residence and recruitment rules for Jammu and Kashmir introduced just two days ago. In the previous order, the Centre had opened up higher-level jobs for all and only level 4 jobs with a pay scale not exceeding Rs 25,500 were reserved for locals.

Baramulla: People strictly practising social distancing while they queue up to buy medicines outside a medical store during 21-day long nationwide lockdown imposed as a precautionary measure to contain the spread of COVID-19, in Jammu and Kashmir's Baramu
People queuing up to buy medicines outside a medical store in Jammu and Kashmir's Baramulla on March 25, 2020.(Photo: IANS)

The move was criticised by all political parties in Jammu and Kashmir including the BJP's local unit, prompting the government to climb down its order to reserve all jobs in the Union Territory for only its domiciles. After the amendment, all the state government jobs in Kashmir will now be reserved for domiciles of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, who lived there for at least 15 years.

On Wednesday, the Government of India (GOI) issued new domicile rules for the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, according to which a person residing in the UT for at least 15 years will now be eligible to get a domicile certificate there. While the new rules loosened up the criteria to become a domicile of the UT, it also opened up level 1, 2 and 3 jobs for all the citizens of India.

Omar Abdullah termed new rules "insult to injury"

This angered local political parties who termed the new residence and recruitment rules "an insult to the injury". Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah, who was recently released from eight-month detention, said that the law didn't provide any protection to the locals.

"Talk about suspect timing. At a time when all our efforts and attention should be focused on the COVID-19 outbreak, the government slips in a new domicile law for J&K. Insult is heaped on injury when we see the law offers none of the protections promised," Abdullah wrote on Twitter.

The Jammu and Kashmir unit of the BJP also raised the issue with Union Home Minister Amit Shah and urged the national leadership to address their concerns. Mehbooba Mufti's PDP also criticised the move and said that it would create "massive problems for residents of Jammu and Kashmir".