The Jammu and Kashmir administration on Tuesday said that 99% of the 12.5 lakh domicile certificates issued so far have been given to former Permanent Resident Certificate owners of the erstwhile state.
Principal Secretary Rohit Kansal said that this included 11,398 West Pakistan Refugees, 415 Valmiki community members, 10 Gorkha community members and 12,340 registered migrants.
On March 31, the Union home ministry introduced new domicile laws that expanded who can live permanently in Jammu and Kashmir. The new rules replace “permanent residents” of the former state with “domiciles” of the new Union Territory.
It allows Indian citizens who have lived in Jammu and Kashmir for 15 years to claim a “domicile certificate” for residency benefits, as well as those who have studied there for seven years. Children of central government officials who worked in Jammu and Kashmir for at least 10 years can also apply.
At a press conference on Tuesday, Kansal said the government has issued about 12.5 lakh domicile certificates so far. “Over 99% of those issued certificates include erstwhile PRCs or including Kashmiri Pandit migrants,” he added. “The process of issuance will be further accelerated and the issuance will be monitored to ensure that pendency is brought down to the lowest.”
Kansal added that all “permanent residents” of the erstwhile state with Permanent Resident Certificates issued before October 31, 2019, will be eligible for receiving their domicile certificates on the basis of PRCs alone, with no other additional document required.
Kashmiri migrants, on the other hand, can get the domicile certificate on production of either a PRC or Certificate of registration of migrant, he said. Besides this, for bonafide migrants and bonafide displaced persons, who have migrated but have not registered with the relief department, there is a special limited provision for registration.
The new domicile rules have been met by a chorus of protests from political parties as well as ordinary residents of the Valley who allege the laws were a step towards bringing demographic change in the culturally distinct region.
But Kansal claimed that the new domicile rules for Jammu and Kashmir provide “a simple and time bound procedure for the issuance of the domicile certificate so that no one is put to any inconvenience”. Besides this, he claimed there are provisions for time bound issuance for certificates, the applications for which can be submitted both physically or electronically.
Kansal also claimed that the new domicile certificate was only for applying for jobs and did not confer rights to own land in the region, reported PTI. “The domicile certificate is for applying for jobs in Jammu and Kashmir… It does not confer right to buy land,” he told reporters.