Srinagar, June 26: Navin Kumar Choudhary, a senior J&K cadre IAS officer from Bihar, is among the nearly 25,000 people who have been granted a domicile certificate—which allows people non-locals to get a residency certificate for education, employment and buying land—in the Union Territory, Chandigarh based The Tribune Newspaper reported.

Choudhary became the first IAS officer who has been granted the domicile certificate to be the resident of J&K.

“This is to certify, Shri Navin K Choudhary son of Shri Deokant Choudhary resident of at present Gandhi Nagar Jammu is a domicile of UT of J&K,” reads the domicile certificate issued by Tehsildar Bahu, Rohit Sharma.

“That the applicant is eligible in terms of the following clause of Rule 5 of the Jammu and Kashmir Grant Domicile Certificate (Production) Rules, 2020,” reads certificate issued by the Government which has photograph, Aadhar Card of Choudhary.

According to J&K Grant Domicile Certificate (Production) Rules, all those who have been living in Jammu and Kashmir for more than 15 years can apply for the certificate.

The Tribune reported that official records reveal that Government has received 33,157 applications for domicile certificates in J&K and over 25,000 people have been granted the citizenship certificate.

Srinagar is the only district which has received 65 applications for domicile certificates but not a single one has been issued as of now, reveal government documents, the newspaper added.

The government has received nearly 32,000 applications in 10 districts of Jammu Division while as Kashmir has received only 720 applications.

In Kashmir, The Tribune reported that the highest number of domicile certificates have been issued in Pulwama (153), followed by Anantnag (106), Kulgam (90), Baramulla (39), Shopian (20), Bandipora (10), Kupwara (10), Budgam (09), Ganderbal (1) and Srinagar (0).

In Jammu, the highest number of domicile certificates—8,500—have been issued in Doda, Rajouri 6,214, Poonch 6,123 and Jammu 2,820.

Nearly 414 domicile certificates are under process in Jammu.

Officials said hundreds of West Pakistan Refugees and Valmiki Samaj members, who were invited to Jammu in 1957 when local sanitation workers went on strike, have been granted certificates, The tribune reported.

The administration has directed all locals to produce their Aadhaar numbers and PRCs to receive the certificate online.

However, if a tehsildar in Jammu and Kashmir fails to issue a domicile certificate to applicants on time they may attract a punishment of having to forfeit up to Rs 50,000 from their salary.

Kashmir-based parties have opposed the new law, saying it is an attempt to change the demography of the J&K.

The government notified the Jammu and Kashmir Grant of Domicile Certificate (Procedure) Rules, 2020, on May 18 and allowed different categories of non-locals, including non-local government employees, to register for domicile certificates

Prior to abrogation of Article 370 and its corollary Article 35-A on the August 5, 2019, only state subjects were allowed to buy land and apply for government jobs.

(Published in The Tribune Newspaper)

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