The changes are an erasure of Kashmir’s history and a project in creating homogeneity – so that there is no legal difference between a Kashmiri and someone from any part of India who has lived in Kashmir for a specified period.
In the absence of any representative government in Jammu and Kashmir, the Centre has exercised undiluted and direct control in the region through a bureaucratic administration since June 2018.
Nine months ago, India’s parliament, acting on legislation moved by the Narendra Modi government, unilaterally terminated Jammu and Kashmir’s unique constitutional position, ending its autonomous status within the Indian Union.
Last week, the Jammu and Kashmir administration notified the Jammu and Kashmir Grant of Domicile Certificate (procedure) rules, 2020. These rules provide a fast-track procedure for issuance of Kashmiri domicile certificates, within 15 days, to people from any part of India. The sense of urgency to legalise the region’s new status is further underscored in the new rules since non-compliance with the time frame provided therein attracts a penalty of Rs. 50,000 from the salary of an errant officer.