Clarity is lacking within the government over key issues in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, including protecting the rights of locals to government jobs and devising alternative mechanisms in place of some commissions like the State Human Rights Commission.
The authorities have said that in the wake of revocation of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir following the abrogation of article 370 and 35A on 5 August, permanent resident certificates (PRCs) will no longer be issued to locals.
However, there is no clarity over whether the state government will protect the rights of locals to fill jobs which were barred to non-state residents before the revocation of special status.
Kashmiris have reacted angrily to the revocation of the special status and the prospect of government jobs going to those from outside the Union Territory. A shutdown has been observed for the last 87 days with the internet and pre-paid mobile services continuing to remain snapped.
Post-paid mobiles were only restored recently. The decision to revoke the special status has also triggered pro-freedom protests which were foiled by police after the arrest of scores of youths.
Three former chief ministers, including PDP president Mehbooba Mufti, NC president Farooq Abdullah and the party’s vice president Omar Abdullah, are under detention.
A number of government officials in the administration said there was a lack of clarity on the mechanism that would be devised to replace the statutory bodies such as the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) as well as the state and district-level consumer forums.
Secretary, General Administration department (GAD), Farooq Ahmad Lone said the local government has decided to wind up the SHRC after the decision of the Centre to repeal various laws, including the Jammu and Kashmir human rights law. The commission had been receiving a large number of complaints against government forces.
He said that instead of the SHRC, the jurisdiction of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) will be extended to the Union Territory. But, the top official said no decision has been taken whether the cases would be referred to the NHRC in Delhi or if the commission will hold the sittings in Srinagar and Jammu.
Advocate HC Jalmeria said the closure of the commissions without making available any alternative mechanism will deprive people of their right to file complaints before statutory bodies.
A senior official of the Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution (CAPD) department said the government issued orders that the staff posted with the different consumer forums now work with the CAPD and some other departments. He, however, added there was no clarity about the disposal of cases pending before the now defunct commissions.
CAPD director Mohammad Qasim Wani said, “No decision has been taken over the delegation of powers to hear the cases which are pending before the commissions.”
A lack of clarity also prevails over whether the government will notify the jobs for non-locals even as the BJP has been pressing for “providing the opportunity to non-residents to work in government services.”
The government has been providing accommodations in hotels or areas with heavy police presence to Hindus from Jammu who have been working in different departments.
Article 35A protected the rights of the locals in the government jobs and also barred non-state residents from owning property. Article 35A also gave powers to the state legislature to frame state subject laws and recognised the rights of permanent residents in government jobs as well on immovable property.
Deputy Commissioner Kupwara, Anshul Garg, said that while the PRCs will no longer be issued, there were “no guidelines” on what basis the State will distinguish between the residents and those from outside who may come here to settle.
BJP spokesperson, Brigadier (retd) Anil Gupta, however, said the party would expect the government to only reserve some jobs for the locals on the basis of domicile certificates. “There is a domicile law in many states and residents should also be issued domicile certificates. Non-locals can work in different government departments,” he said.
Updated Date: Nov 01, 2019 17:23:14 IST