BJP’s First Surrender in Kashmir: Why Was Jobs Notice Withdrawn?
Withdrawal of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court notification dated 26 December 2019, which for the first time had called for applications from candidates all over the country to fill up 33 vacancies of stenographers and drivers, is widely being interpreted as BJP’s first abject surrender after abrogation of the erstwhile state’s special constitutional position of 5 August 2019.
Apparently buckling under a welter of unrest in Jammu and Ladakh, being competitively exploited by all the opposition parties, the Centre as well as the Union Territory (UT) administration is believed to have forced the J&K High Court administration to withdraw the controversial notification within five days of its issuance.
Even as there was no reaction—positive or negative—from the valley of Kashmir, people of all political hues, including the BJP’s committed vote banks in Jammu and Ladakh, have expressed disappointment over the moves to open the government jobs for residents of other states and UTs.
BJP Puts J&K Leaders On Damage Control Job
Usually effervescent votaries of ‘one nation, one rule’ have been muted even as the J&K BJP leaders like President Ravinder Raina and General Secretary (Organisation) Ashok Kaul have given out indications that the government employment in the two UTs would be restricted to only the permanent residents and those staying in the erstwhile state continuously for at least 15 years.
According to their conversations with the party rank and file, only those staying in J&K for 15 years after 31 October 2019. the appointed date for implementation of the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act 2019, would be entitled to the Domicile Certificate, giving them right to a government job within the UT.
“Even if the UT makes domicile of 15 years or so mandatory for applying for a government job, J&K High Court is not bound to adopt it. We are a completely autonomous institution and we have powers to make and implement our own rules of recruitment. So there’s no question of the notification having been withdrawn under pressure from any quarter”, Sanjay Dhar asserted.
Why Exactly was the Notification Withdrawn?
“In the notification, we had advertised the open merit vacancies for candidates throughout India but reserved the vacancies of certain special categories under J&K Reservation Act. As it was pointed out that the categories of ALC (Actual Line of Control), RBA (Reserved for Back Areas) and SC (Social Castes) do not exist in the Central law, we withdrew the notification. We will go ahead after we resolve this legal issue”, Sanjay Dhar added. He also said that eligible candidates throughout the country were entitled to apply for jobs in any state or UT except those where the local domicile laws were in force.
Contrary to Dhar’s assertions, Jammu-based newspaper Daily Excelsior claimed in a report on Wednesday, 1 January, that Minister of State in Prime Minister’s Office and the Lok Sabha member from Udhampur-Kathua, Dr Jitendra Singh, had met and convinced Home Minister Amit Shah and Home Secretary, Ajay Kumar Bhalla, over introducing the Domicile of 15 years from November 2019 as a pre-requisite for the new jobs in UTs of J&K and Ladakh.
“According to the sources, it was revealed in the meeting that Ministry of Home Affairs was already in the process of issuance of formal notification to protect the employment and land rights of the people of Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and Union Territory of Ladakh but because of pre-occupation of the Home Minister Amit Shah in handling the issues relating to Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) the same could not be issued”, Daily Excelsior reported.
“The ongoing controversy will be settled with the issuance of notification on domicile issue by the Ministry of Home Affairs shortly”, Dr Singh reportedly confirmed to the newspaper, while claiming that a discussion on this issue had been in progress “over three months”. Quoting sources, the newspaper reported that the family members of the officers of All India Services of J&K cadre and the applicants having passed their 9th and 12th standard examinations within J&K would be exempted from the bar of domicile.
Unity Cuts Across Party Lines In Opposing the Notification
Cutting across political affiliations, almost all the mainstream political parties, civil society activists and representatives of lawyers and traders in Jammu, as well as in Ladakh, have voiced their concern over the UT Governments’ plans to open the government jobs for all Indian citizens irrespective of their domicile. Since 1957 under the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir, only the permanent residents holding the State Subject certificate were entitled to a government job until passage of the J&K Reorganisation Act in August 2019.
The notification also caused a furore in Ladakh which has ultimately realised the Buddhist-sponsored demand of UT but sounded upset over the idea of the jobs being thrown for ‘outsiders’.
J&K chief spokesperson of Congress, Ravinder Sharma, has questioned the repeated statements of top BJP leaders promising the protection of the rights of the local youth in the Government jobs. “The recent advertisement has put the things open and the cat is out of the bag now” Sharma has said, asking the Government to stop “playing with sentiments of educated unemployed youth”.
Expressing his serious concern over opening of local government jobs to outsiders, Youth Congress president in J&K Uday Bhanu Chib termed it as a “cruel joke of the BJP Government with the youth of Jammu and Kashmir”.
National Conference’s Jammu provincial president, Devender Singh Rana, has also flayed the move of opening door for outsiders in the Government services within the UTs of J&K and Ladakh.
Opposition’s Apprehensions Post-370 Coming True
PDP leader Ved Mahajan has said the new development had proved that the opposition was right in opposing abrogation of Article 370 and 35A. According to him, the BJP Government had repeatedly promised that the erstwhile state subjects’ rights over the land and the government jobs would remain intact. “But the recent recruitment advertisement of J&K High Court has proved that BJP was just befooling the people of J&K,” Mahajan has said.
“People had some hope that the Government would adopt provision of domicile on the pattern of Himachal Pradesh for job security to local youth and land protection but the BJP has given them a shock in the shape of J&K High Court advertisement”, Mahajan has said and asserted that future of local youth seemed dark.
J&K National Panthers Party president, Harsh Dev Singh, has said that the Government’s new move would not only mar the prospects of the local unemployed educated youths but would also have a demoralizing effect on the young generation.
The CPI and the CPI (M) have also reacted sharply and urged the Centre to reserve all government jobs in J&K to only the permanent residents of the erstwhile state.
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