PRC rules: J&K parties caution Guv

PRC rules: J&K parties caution Guv

Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik. (PTI Photo)

A new political row has erupted in Jammu and Kashmir with regional parties opposing Governor Satyapal Malik’s move to bring changes to the contentious Permanent Residential Certificates (PRCs) rules.

Omar Abdullah, former chief minister and National Conference (NC) leader, while expressing concern over the issue, tweeted a letter, which he said he tried to send to the Governor.

“My letter to @jandkgovernor on behalf of @JKNC_ placing on record our concern about reports of changes being proposed to the J&K permanent residents certificate rules (sic),” he tweeted.

Taking a potshot over the row about malfunctioning fax machine at the Governor's office, he said, “I’m trying to fax a letter to @jandkgovernor but the fax machine still isn’t working. The operator who answered the phone says the fax operator is on holiday as it’s a Sunday. Will attempt again tomorrow in the mean time am forced to put the letter out through social media,” Omar said.

He described the reported directions of Governor in this regard as "an attempt to distort the demography of the state" and "detrimental to Jammu and Kashmir's special status.”

The former chief minister warned that “any misadventure could disturb the fragile and precarious peace” in the sensitive state.

“In addition, it is a brazen act to further create mistrust among people here and can have serious ramifications for the prospects of peace and harmony in J-K,” Omar said.

While sharply reacting to the development, Abdul Haq Khan, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) general secretary and former minister, said that Governor rule is a transitory arrangement and he (Malik) should avoid disrupting the existing laws and procedures in the state.

“The PRC is a sensitive issue and there have been complaints in the past also that some non-state subjects have acquired the certificates in spite of the fool proof arrangements. The system of granting the PRC is an established practice and should not be diluted at any cost,” he said.

“This is a matter of the identity of the state and any attempt to relax it will meet with resistance. It can open a Pandora box if the procedure is relaxed in any way,” Khan said.

Even the BJP’s allay, Peoples Conference led by Sajad Lone, opposed any “structural changes” to the PRCs.

“The Governor and administration need to restrict itself to basic governance. No structural changes pertaining to PRC or J&K Bank are acceptable. Restrict your energies to what you are mandated to do— which incidentally you are not doing. Please don't invent new problems," Lone tweeted.

The state administration led by the Governor, sources say, plans to bring major changes to PRCs, which is already a sensitive issue that had seen widespread protests in Srinagar.

Permanent residence in Jammu and Kashmir relates to Article 35-A, which empowers the state to classify people, who are eligible to stay there and enjoy special rights and privileges.

The Supreme Court is currently hearing a bunch of petitions seeking the abrogation of the law, which was added by a presidential order in 1954, giving the state a special status.