Jammu and Kashmir domicile for officer
A senior IAS officer from Bihar has become the first prominent “outsider” to secure domicile rights in Jammu and Kashmir, deepening the Valley’s fears about a government plan to alter the region’s demography.
Navin K. Choudhary, 51, a 1994-batch IAS officer, was granted the status on Thursday, weeks after the Centre allowed certain categories of outsiders to obtain domicile certificates in the fledgling Union Territory.
The development follows the August 5 revocation of provisions of Article 370 and Article 35A that gave local people exclusive rights over land and most government jobs in Jammu and Kashmir.
The 10-month-old move had outraged Kashmiris, who saw in it a plan to resettle outsiders and change Jammu and Kashmir’s Muslim-majority status.
Choudhary is from Majhaulia village in Bihar and is posted as principal secretary with the Jammu and Kashmir agriculture production department.
His mobile was switched off on Friday.
On May 18, the government had notified the Jammu and Kashmir Grant of Domicile Certificate (Procedure) Rules, 2020, allowing non-locals who have lived in Jammu and Kashmir for at least 15 years to secure domicile.
Central government employees have to serve in Jammu and Kashmir for only 10 years to be able to secure domicile certificates for themselves and their children.
Choudhary has been working in Jammu and Kashmir for the past 26 years.
The government has not yet clarified whether the non-local domicile holders can buy land in the region, but Kashmiris fear that this right too would be given soon.