The political revolution that was brought in, through the motions moved by the Home Minister of India in the Parliament on 5-6 August 2019 and the consequent bifurcation of J&K into two Union Territories on 31 October 2019, created a new history for the erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir state. The newly created Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir went into the process of creation of new set of rules for the UT in consonance with the contours of constitution of India, desires and aspirations of the people of the UT and the ideals of a nationalistic outlook.
In order to frame the new required laws and set of rules, the people of the UT of J&K showed a great interest in the formation of Domicile rules in the state. The government of India, the UT government, the legal fraternity and the political class took these interests in a positive manner and devised means to give them a proper shape. Accordingly, on 31st March 2020, the Ministry of Home Affairs issued a Notification on Domicile issue for the Jammu and Kashmir Union Territory.
The notification, on perusal, was found wanting in a specific context, and the context to include those hereditary subjects of J&K who were living outside the state over a period of the last eight decades was accommodated in the Domicile notification issued by the government of UT on 16th and 18th May 2020. There was a huge homework undertaken to bring amendments and giving them the legal status as desired and deserved. This author was also provided a great opportunity by the Almighty to be a party to the huge exercise of giving the Domicile issue a final framework.
Some people, particularly from the political class in the UT of J&K haven't yet reconciled to the new realities and are living with the old mindset. They, as have been doing earlier as well, are trying to create confusion and chaos in the minds of people about the issue. The know that they can thrive in a situation of mess and anarchy and are thus more alive to their own "future" than that of the welfare of the people at large. In this connection, the campaign unleashed by National Conference and other such parties on Domicile issue is going to boomerang. Though they are conscious of the fact that the laws and rules under Article 370 and 35A are a history now yet they are embarking upon those rules and thus simply trying to hoodwink the public opinion.
Their idea that "domicile to outsiders is disempowering JK residents politically and economically" is a highly provocative and disturbing outburst which can have unfortunate implications and ramifications. In fact, these so-called advisers should stand out as "exemplary" and leave hipocricy now and prove their statements in this context correct. They are advised to first dispose off their assets, land and properties in various parts of the rest of India and lead by example. One can't have specific previledges for J&K residents at the cost of common Indians.
Indian constitution guarantees equal rights and opportunities to all its citizens irrespective of region, religion, caste and gender. The biased and discriminatory set of rules under the erstwhile separate constitution of J&K stands buried deep down the earth for good.
The arguments put forth by the National Conference and other such leaders in this connection demand that the politicians, bureaucrats, businessmen and other influential residents of the erstwhile state of J&K should immediately leave their land holdings, business share, lucrative jobs and palatial flats in other important cities and states of rest of India. Even students from Kashmir engaged in educational, technical, professional and vocational trainings in cities like Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Jaipur and Hyderabad will have to wind up their pursuits as it is tantamount to divesting the local people of their political, economic and professional rights in their respective cities and states.
Those who have taken upon them to try to exploit the sentiments of the people in Kashmir are well advised to ask their cadres not to apply for Domicile Certificates as a first measure step and thus prove their sincerity and honesty first. Moreover, they should not propagate an illegal opinion that the PRCs are valid documents. These PRCs lost their validity on 5-6 August 2019 when Article 35A was nullified by the Parliament by a huge vote. However, these PRCs can be produced as a documentary proof to get the Domicile certificate issued. The days of one-way traffic are actually over.
These people on the one hand are advocating their line of thinking that the cases in regard to abrogation of the separate constitution of J&K etc. are pending in the Supreme Court of India and therefore the action on domicile should be put to a halt, on the other hand they are committing serious contempt of court by raking up these political issues in public. In fact, they should instead take their objections to the Hon'ble Apex Court and keep this discussion limited to the opinion of the Supreme Court in this regard. Old habits die hard, so is true about this variety of politicians.
Deceit and exploitation, selfishness and promotion of individual interests, sacrificing people for absurd cause and propagating communal agenda, getting booty from both the "sides" by playing double cross and hoodwinkiking public opinion are the hallmark of typical political legacy of Kashmir over the last seven decades. The families of Abdullahs, Bakshis, Muftis and Azads have one more to add latest to the "distinguished list", the family of Geelanis.
The latest backtracking of Syed Ali Geelani, at a highly crucial time of history, is tantamount to stabbing in the back for the Kashmiri society. It is like leading one through the channels of chaos with the promise of heaven, and leaving all of them in the very chaos high and dry. This is one of the severe most blow to the psyche of the Kashmiris during the last seven decades.
He was the man who right ab initio propagated the idea of an Islamic state in Jammu and Kashmir, supported vehemently the option of gun, never condemned the terrorist massacres and also said that Kashmir was the "unfinished business of the partition of India in 1947". He also emphasized that Kashmiri Muslims were "de facto Pakistanis". Public disassociation means the end of the game in the real sense. It is almost impossible for Pakistan now to find one more Geelani in Kashmir. The most affected in this rough and tough political scenario is obviously one more Chairman of the amalgam, Mirwais Umer Farooq.
History teaches lessons and the biggest lesson that it teaches is to learn from mistakes of past and escape the repeat of history. Kashmir is provided with the most crafted experience of the last seven decades of its political history. It is time to learn from past and rewrite a new history with a positive attitude and hopefulness. Yes, indeed, Domicile is the new vision for J&K's takeoff.