JAMMU — Authorities in Jammu on Wednesday authorised Tehsildars (Revenue officials) to issue certificates of residence to those residing in the winter capital for more than one year to facilitate their entry in the ongoing special summary revision of electoral rolls.
District Election Officer and Deputy Commissioner Jammu, Avny Lavasa passed the directive after taking serious note of some eligible voters facing hardships in registration as voters to the non-availability of required documents.
The Special Summary Revision of electoral rolls has been started in the Union Territory with effect from September 15 for registration of new voters, deletion, correction, and transposition of voters who have migrated or died since the last summary revision amid serious concern expressed by various political parties over the inclusion of non-locals as voters.
DC Jammu’s order physical implementation of adding non-locals in J&K: Masoodi
National Conference (NC) leader and MP Anantnag Hasnain Masoodi on Wednesday said DC Jammu’s order reinforces the party’s apprehensions of disempowerment of local people of J&K.
In a statement issued to the news agency KNO, Masoodi, who is also the convener of a 14-member committee constituted by the political parties that attended the meeting at Jammu in September to discuss the inclusion of non-local voters, has in a statement labelled the order of DC Jammu dated 11.10. 2022 authorising Revenue officers to issue, even in absence of documents, certificates declaring the recipients as “ordinarily residing” in a constituency and facilitate their enrolment as voters as a step towards the addition of 25 lakh non-local voters and disempowerment of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
Masoodi stated that not only is the order beyond scope of the Representation of People’s Act but the repeal of J&K Representation of People’s Act 1957 and application of Representation of People’s Act 1950 is under a cloud as The Reorganisation Act 2019 where under the steps have been taken, is under challenge before the top constitutional court of the country.
The order is open-ended and designed to pave the way for the inclusion of non-locals not “ordinarily residing” in a constituency in the voter list. Masoodi has said that the committee will shortly meet and discuss the matter and decide on a response and strategy to meet the challenge.
Meanwhile, the party’s Provincial President Jammu Rattan Lal Gupta has also denounced the order, saying the order undermines the exclusive democratic rights of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
ECI’s order first blow to Dogra identity in Jammu: Mehbooba Mufti
Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has attacked the BJP and said that the efforts of the BJP will be foiled. This reaction of Mehbooba Mufti has come after the decision of the government regarding the voter list in Jammu and Kashmir. Voter cards will be made for people living in Jammu for more than a year.
Mehbooba Mufti took to Twitter and wrote: “ECI’s latest order for registration of new voters makes it clear that GOIs colonial settler project has been initiated in Jammu. They will bear the first blow to Dogra culture, identity, employment & business.”
Mehbooba Mufti further said, “BJPs attempts to create religious & regional divisions between Jammu & Kashmir must be thwarted because whether its a Kashmiri or a Dogra, safeguarding our identity & rights will be possible only if we put up a collective fight.”
DC Jammu’s order on facilitating registration of non-locals as electors highly suspicious: PC
Reacting to the directive issued by DC Jammu to facilitate registration of non-locals as electors, Peoples Conference (PC) on Wednesday said that the order is highly suspicious and the onus of proving the suspicions wrong yet again lies on the ECI and the J&K administration.
“The directive issued by DC Jammu authorising Revenue officials to issue certificates of residence to outsiders residing in Jammu for more than one year is highly suspicious. It reinforces the apprehensions in the minds of locals that outsiders are being enabled to register as voters in order to change the demographic profile of J&K,” the statement said.
“This action is also in blatant violation of the SC judgment in ECI Vs Dr Manmohan Singh case, where the court held that the ordinary resident in a constituency as mentioned in the Representation of the People Act, 1950 shall mean a habitual resident of that place or a resident as a matter of fact in regular, normal or usual course and that the residence must be permanent in character and for a considerable time with the intention to dwell permanently,” PC spokesperson said in a statement issued to the news agency KNO.
The spokesperson further asserted that apprehensions of demographic intervention in J&K are actually fuelled by unwarranted actions, gestures and statements of certain officers of the election authority.
“First, the press conference of the CEO claiming registration of 25 lakh outside voters created doubts about demographic intervention and then the State Administration had to retract from this statement by issuing a clarification. Now, the Dy Commr. Jammu has provided fodder to such apprehensions by her latest directive, forcing the people of J&K to believe that such demographic intervention is actually taking shape,” he said.
PC accordingly urged the Election Commission of India (ECI) as well as the J&K Administration to come clean on the matter and clarify if DC Jammu has been authorized to issue such a directive and if so, under what law, rule or norm.
Azad opposes inclusion of non-local voters
Democratic Azad Party Chairman and former Chief Minister of J&K on Wednesday said that giving voting rights to non-locals will be opposed.
Talking to reporters at the sidelines of the workers’ meet at Khanbal Anantnag, Azad as per the news agency KNO said giving voting rights to non-residents will be opposed forever and was being opposed.
He said that it was the main benefit of Article 370 that non-locals had no voting rights in J&K. “If Tehsildars will issue any certificates to non-locals, they shouldn’t be given voting rights as it won’t be right for J&K and there will be a rise in social tension,” he said.
He said that he held workers’ meetings and the constitution of state-level, zone-level, district-level and block-level committees were discussed.
Azad added that all new faces will be part of these committees and all sections of people living in J&K will get representation in all committees.
Inclusion of non-local voters in revised electoral rolls arbitrary: Tarigami
Terming the latest order issued by Deputy Commissioner Jammu regarding the inclusion of non-local voters in revised electoral rolls as arbitrary, CPI (M) leader Mohamad Yousuf Tarigami on Wednesday said that it is the beginning of a wider plan to reduce the weightage of locals in order to change electoral demographics.
In a statement issued to the news agency KNO, Tarigami said that all parties and civil society groups must reject this arbitrary inclusion of no locals. “BJP designs must be defeated,” he said.