Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti-led government are facing severe criticism from the opposition and the separatist parties after it directed the authorities to issue domicile certificates to West Pakistan refugees.
The opposition parties have opposed the government’s move saying that the move will erode Article 370 and will disturb social fabric. However, the government has denied allegations of issuing domicile certificates and said that they were only issuing identity certificates to the West Pakistan refugees.
The government had reportedly decided to give a domicile certificate to the residents of West Pakistan who did not move to Pakistan and stayed back in Jammu and Kashmir after partition. The government clarified its move saying that the government had not provided any domicile certificates to people, mostly Hindus, and Sikhs who had migrated to the state.
According to reports, the certificates clearly states that the person who has been living in the state since partition and is not a citizen of the state are eligible to get the nativity or identity certificate.
The government further stated that they should be given the identiry certificates so that they apply for Central government jobs and other Central government establishements.
These refugees who stayed back during partition or migrated during partition are eligible for voting in the parliamentary elections but not allowed to vote in the assembly elections because they are not permanent residents of the state.
The government has affirmed that issuing identity certificates will not change the status of the refugees. The opposition, however, slammed the PDP-BJP coalition government’s decision and claimed that it was a conspiracy. The opposition has also warned the government to revoke the order or face backlash.
Meanwhile, the ruling government defended their move saying that it was nothing but the opposition’s strategy to destabilise the government and these West Pakistan refugees will continue to be the non-state subjects.