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Politicians continue to slam inclusion of non-local voters

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Srinagar: Former deputy chief minister Muzaffar Hussain Baig on Friday lashed out at Jammu and Kashmir’s poll officer for his statement on inclusion of non-local voters in the electoral rolls, saying the irresponsible remarks were made without authority and any legal jurisdiction.

He also said there was no such law which gave voting rights to non-state subjects in the Union territory (UT), and the domicile law was about jobs only.

“The officer gave a statement about 25 lakh additional voters. This is an irresponsible and wrong statement,” he told reporters here.

Baig, who is also a lawyer, said a domicile certificate, as defined in Section 3-A of Jammu and Kashmir Civil Services Decentralisation and Recruitment Rules, 2010, can be issued by a Tehsildar to those who lived in the UT for 15 years or studied in schools here for seven years.

“They can get jobs, but not become citizens and do not have voting rights,” he said.

Senior Congress leader Saifuddin Soz said time has come for mainstream political parties in Jammu and Kashmir to come forward for a “decisive battle” against “brazenly undemocratic and unconstitutional step” of inclusion of non-local voters in the electoral rolls.

Peoples Conference chairman Sajad Gani Lone today said that inclusion of non-local voters in the electoral rolls in Jammu and Kashmir has heightened the fears of demographic change in the Union territory.

“The recent statement by officials of the Election Commission pertaining to allowing non-locals to vote in the Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir has created a new set of apprehensions amongst the people that the government of India must come out with unvarnished truth to allay their fears,” Lone said in a statement.

He said the statement of the chief electoral officer has “heightened” the fears of demographic intervention and demographic change.

“We know the set of laws that prevail across the country but what matters here is not the application of the law, but the intentions of those implementing the law,” he said.

Meanwhile, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Friday took out a protest march here against the inclusion of non-local voters in the electoral rolls in Jammu and Kashmir.

Several PDP leaders led by the party’s chief spokesperson Suhail Bukhari took out the march from the party’s head office near Sher-e-Kashmir Park here.

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