PROF. SK BHALLA
Decision taken at the highest level in our UT, non-locals putting up in J&K can enlist themselves as Voters and right to franchise ensured. Students, labourers or anyone from outside living ordinarily in J&K can cast vote in the likely elections in the foreseeable future. Whether this move is legally tenable at this juncture or not is a question to be addressed? There is no need to be in possession of a Domicile Certificate, which was some sort of a rider in order to enlist oneself as a voter. There are fears especially in the valley that giving voting right to outsiders would cause more alienation among the people and some are even worried about the demographic change. There is much more than meets the eye which is known to all those who keep a tab on the goings on in our UT. We have been told that this move is in accordance with the provisions of Representation of the People’s Act and CEO has ensured that Rohingyas are not to be included. So the onus is on Hirdesh Kumar Singh that not even a single Rohingya infiltrates.
Some people say that it is a clever move on the part of New Delhi that in the coming elections BJP wins hands down and they get installed their own party man on the hot seat. Political dimension of this proposed exercise cannot be ruled out. What shall be the stance of our Hon’ble Advocates’, who are abstaining from work these days is too early to predict? Legal eagles know more about the technicalities and hopefully, their stance will be known shortly. Political leaders of different parties shall also be doing their calculations which may prove to be mathematically incorrect. It is very difficult to gauge the mood of the electorate in these trying times.
The next move of the non-locals is likely to permanently settle especially in a Jammu as it is a ‘peace station’ and Jammu city and its suburbs at present are bursting at the seams. There is also a fear that Jammu’s culture and a modicum of identity will take a beating. Long term impact of this move can be easily predicted but it is not the duty of Team CVC to open all the cards. Let there be some churning among the so called non-existent civil society of Jammu, especially Senior Social Activists as per the seniority list. Exchange of views is the sign of a vibrant democracy, so expecting some pleasant as well as unpleasant reactions in the coming days. Anyhow, one irritation is largely seen. We stand demoted for the time being. Even the status of the Domicile Certificate has been weakened. Hopefully, it will be fortified in the days ahead. Friends beware of the political gimmicks and sport a cool head on your broad shoulders. Put uncomfortable questions to your leaders. Analyze their track record. Watch their activities. Don’t open up your mind in advance. Arey Bhai NOTA Ka Bhi Masla Hai.
(The author of the article is a retired Principal of HR Education Deptt and a noted Anti corruption crusader as well as Chairman of Civil Vigilance Cell)