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Parties slam top cop’s reported remarks about domicile law 

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J&K at risk of becoming police state: NC; All citizens have the right to freedom of speech, expression: PDP; Muzzling genuine voices of people is extremely unfortunate: CPI(M)

Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir is at the risk of becoming a police state, the National Conference said on Friday, a day after a senior police official warned of action against anyone found instigating people on the new domicile law announced by the Centre for the union territory.

“It would appear that along with everything else we also lost the fundamental right to free speech and the right to dissent last year. J&K may not be a ‘state’ but we risk becoming a police state (if we aren’t already one),” the NC said on its official Twitter handle.

A report in a local daily has quoted Inspector General of Police Kashmir Vijay Kumar as saying that “some miscreants are instigating people on the new domicile law by misusing social media. FIR will be filed and action will be taken against those found involved”.

Taking a dig at the IGP’s remarks, NC’s provincial spokesperson Imran Nabi Dar said police should award those writing in favour of the domicile law.

“May I add… just a suggestion… Police should also award those writing in favour of #DomicilelawJK. Awardee should be allowed to nominate any 10 people of choice for #DomicileCertificate. Halwa batt raha hai toh sab khaye…(sic),” he tweeted.

The PDP too reacted sharply to the IGP’s remarks.

“Seriously @JmuKmrPolice Article 19(1)(a) of Constitution says that all citizens have the right to freedom of speech, expression. Freedom of Speech & expression means the right to express one’s own convictions & opinions freely by words of mouth, writing, printing or any mode,” the party said in a tweet.

Meanwhile, while reacting to the police officer’s warning against those who raise their voice on the new domicile law CPI (M) today said that the attempt to browbeat to muzzle genuine voices of people is extremely unfortunate.

“Government seems more comfortable in silencing dissent voices through force and browbeating. This tactics is most unfortunate and condemnable and has no place in a democratic setup. Don’t muzzle protests. Anger is anger. You don’t know when it will burst out,” CPI (M) said in a statement.

“Government of India is changing legislations to arm the authorities and disarm the population. The situation in Jammu & Kashmir can only be salvaged by restoring democracy. The administration should allow the people to speak up and end the reign of forced silence. If the unprecedented subversion of democracy did not end, it would only benefit those who want uncertainty and disturbance to prevail in J&K.”

“The timing of the order is equally disquieting. At a moment when the entire nation, including J&K, is focused on the fight against COVID, it was inappropriate and insensitive to push in new rules that will directly impact the lives of the people of the former state,” the statement said.

Nearly eight months after withdrawal of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status, the central government on Wednesday laid down rules for domicile which can now be given to anyone who has resided in the Union Territory for 15 years.

The Centre amended the Jammu and Kashmir Civil Services (Decentralisation and Recruitment) in which a clause for domicile category was introduced under which jobs up to Group-4 in the government were protected.

Under the new law, anyone who has resided for 15 years in Jammu and Kashmir or has studied for seven years and appeared in Class 10 and Class 12 examinations in an educational institution located in the Union Territory is a domicile.


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