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Jammu and Kashmir: Dalits, children of exiled Kashmiri Pandits can now have domicile certificates and get equal rights at jobs

The ‘Jammu and Kashmir Grant of Domicile Certificate (Procedure) Rules 2020’ was brought in through an amendment to the Jammu And Kashmir Civil Services (Decentralisation And Recruitment) Act, 2010.

Giving a ray of hope to the Valmiki community in the Jammu, the government of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir has decided to grant domicile certificates to the Valmiki community that has been living in Jammu and Kashmir for several decades.

Eklavya, a member of the community was quoted by Times Now, “Now we too can lead a dignified life. All these years we had been treated like slaves. We were denied basic constitutional and fundamental rights.” Eklavya, who has completed his Ph.D., was only entitled to the job of a sweeper up to now. But now with a domicile certificate, he can apply for other jobs like fellow citizens.

Valmiki community came to Jammu in 1957

Members of the Valmiki community came to Jammu from Punjab’s Amritsar and Gurdaspur on the invitation from the then the autonomous government headed by its Prime Minister Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad.

The Jammu city fell into a crisis following the strike of local sweeper union against the decision of calling cleaning workers from Punjab. The government then assured the community that the ‘permanent resident clause’ will be relaxed for them. But that promise was never fulfilled for the decades and the community continued to suffer.

The Dalits, girl children, women and many weaker sections of the societies were denied the rights and benefits enjoyed by the citizens of India when Article 370 was in place.

Jammu and Kashmir government issued notification

The decades-long wait came to an end on Monday when Union Territory government issued notification defining the rules while issuing a domicile certificate, as per reports. The ‘Jammu and Kashmir Grant of Domicile Certificate (Procedure) Rules 2020’ was brought in through an amendment to the Jammu And Kashmir Civil Services (Decentralisation And Recruitment) Act, 2010.

As per a March 31 order by the government, a person “who has resided for a period of 15 years in the UT of J&K or has studied for a period of seven years and appeared in class 10th/12th examination in an educational institution located in the UT of J&K”, was designated as a domicile.

As specified by the notification, now he children of exiled Kashmiri Pandits, children of a woman who had married outside the Union Territory, Dalit workers settled in Jammu and Kashmir and the children of families who had come from Pakistan during or after the partition will now be eligible to apply for the certificate.

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Staff reporter at OpIndia

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