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  India   All India  03 Dec 2018  J&K gov Satyapal Malik denies plan to settle ‘outsiders’

J&K gov Satyapal Malik denies plan to settle ‘outsiders’

Published : Dec 3, 2018, 1:06 am IST
Updated : Dec 3, 2018, 1:06 am IST

Abdullah had, on Sunday, tried to fax his letter to the governor’s office but tweeted that the fax machine was still not working.

J&K governor Satyapal Malik (Photo: PTI)
 J&K governor Satyapal Malik (Photo: PTI)

Jammu: Jammu & Kashmir governor Satyapal Malik said Sunday his administration is not considering any changes to the legislation governing permanent resident certificates (PRCs) nor its procedural rules after National Conference leader and former J&K CM Omar Abdullah accused him of unilaterally trying to change the process of granting PRCs to help outsiders get residency status in the state.

“At the outset, I would like to mention that the government is not making or even considering any changes to the Act governing permanent resident certificates in the state. It is an integral part of the legal structure of Jammu and Kashmir and there is no attempt whatsoever to tamper with this law,” Mr Malik said in his letter addressed to Mr Abdullah late on Sunday.

Earlier on Sunday, sources said that under the garb of simplification, efforts were afoot to dilute the rules to grant permanent residency and help outsiders get residency status in the state.

While some said that the governor has written to administrative officials seeking their input, media reports in J&K alleged that directions have already been issued to the concerned officials to make changes in the procedures pertaining to the issuance of these certificates.

Mr Abdullah on Sunday wrote a letter to the governor, accusing him of trying to distort the demography of the state by bringing changes to the existing rules of granting PRCs, and asked him to roll it back.

Contending that the governor, currently in the capacity of a caretaker, cannot make any change without consulting J&K’s political parties and other stakeholders, he wrote, “We are obliged to write to you at a time when you are mulling changes to the permanent resident certificate rules. Our party, the National Conference, is of the opinion that this is an attempt to distort the demography of the state and finds it detrimental to the J&K’s special status”.

Accusing the state administrative council (SAC) of “unilaterally bringing changes in the working of institutions and procedures, a practice that is against the principles and spirit of democracy and participative government”, Mr Abdullah said, “Our state is a sensitive state and any misadventure by the SAC could disturb the fragile and precarious peace.”

Governor Malik responded, “As for the matters in the rest of your letter, I would like to highlight that no changes in the procedural rules governing the issue of PRCs will ever be done without larger consultations with all stakeholders. Consultations are essential so as to avoid any unnecessary apprehensions in the minds of anyone… in view of the concerns expressed by you, I will assure you that nothing will be done to modify the procedures for issuing PRCs”.

However, he added, “There have also been complaints that the issuance of these certificates gets delayed due to a variety of procedural reasons. It is in this context of having a hassle-free process of bonafide applicants that I believe the revenue department has sought comments from a few others. This is a routine administrative matter and unnecessary meanings should not be read into it.”  

The permanent residency status — a very sensitive issue in Kashmir Valley — is linked to the Constitution’s Article 35A which grants the state its special status and has been challenged in the Supreme Court. It classifies people who are eligible as permanent residents in Jammu & Kashmir and enjoy special rights and privileges.

Mr Abdullah had, on Sunday, tried to fax his letter to the governor’s office but tweeted that the fax machine was still not working.

“I’m trying to fax a letter to @jandkgovernor but the fax machine still isn’t working. The operator who answered the phone says the fax operator is on holiday as it’s a Sunday. Will attempt again tomorrow in the mean time am forced to put the letter out through social media,” he tweeted, with a photo of the letter.

Last week, following rival claims by an alliance of NC and Mehbooba Mufti’s People’s Democratic Party, and Sajad Lone, with the BJP’s support, to form the government in the state, governor Malik had dissolved the state Assembly, clearing decks for elections in the state. In the absence of any elected government, any change in the PRC can be made by an order of the governor.

Tags: satyapal malik, omar abdullah
Location: India, Jammu and Kashmir, Jammu