Gorkha Rifles
Indian Army's 3 Gorkha Rifles Infantry regiment march past during the Army Day parade in New DelhiPRAKASH SINGH/AFP/Getty Images

Of the 6,600 applications approved for domicile status in Jammu and Kashmir, a majority belong to the Gorkha community's retired soldiers from the Indian Army in the last one week. Now, with the application, they can purchase property and will be employable in the Union Territory. 

This is a first for the Jammu and Kashmir administration who till now were not being granted the status in the region. The certificates were distributed to those who've been residing in J&K for the past 70 years or more but haven't been given citizenship rights in the region.

Gorkhas, Valmiki community and West Pakistan refugees

Jammu and Kashmir have often been a contested debate in India, in a historic move, the authorities in the region have begun approving applications for domicile status. The status will be granted to those from communities such as the Gorkhas, Valmiki community and West Pakistan refugees. 

Domicile status allows those who come under it to avail education, purchase and own property as well as seek employment in the territory. Jammu and Kashmir's Article 370 and 35A barred non-locals from residing in the territory. 

Of the 6,600 applications approved, a majority of the applications approved belong to retired Gorkha soldiers. In Kashmir, authorities said, 700 certificates belong to retired soldiers in the Indian Army from the Gorkha community. Dr Rohit Sharma Tehsildar of Bahu in Jammu said to TOI, in Tehsil alone, 2500 from the Gorkha community who had served in the Indian army and their families received domicile status of the 3,500 who applied. 

Retired Gorkha soldiers granted domicile status in J&K

Over 33,000 applications have been received with an average of 200 applications received in a day officials said. For the Gorkha community, this is a historic moment having resided in the region for over 150 years. 

Eligibility criteria for domicile status

Those eligible for domicile status under the rules would be:

  • Permanent Resident certificate holders and children living outside J&K
  • Kashmiri migrants outside J&K
  • Those who've lived in J&K for over 15 years and their children
  • Officials in government bodies, PSUs, central universities, PSBs, Statutory bodies, central research institutes, etc. who have worked in J&K over 10 years.
  • Those who have studied in J&K for over 10 years and have written their Class X or XII exams in the Union Territory.

One can apply through the Tehsildar's office or the official link by the government of J&K.

Many Gorkha community members and retired see this as a reward for serving the country and protecting it.