Jammu: An administration on Tuesday in Jammu issued an order authorizing all tehsildars (revenue officials) to issue a certificate of residence to people residing in the district for more than one year.
“Whereas, Special Summary Revision, 2022 has been started in Union territory of the Jammu and Kashmir with effect from September 15, 2022, for registration of new voters, deletion, correction, transposition of voters who have migrated, died since last Summary Revision,” read the order of the Deputy Commissioner, Jammu, as per ANI.
Whereas, as per guidelines issued by the Election Commission of India, the order said any of the following documents can be accepted as proof of residence: water/electricity/ gas connection for one year; Aadhar card, current passbook of nationalized/scheduled bank/ post Office; Indian Passport; Revenue Department’s land-owning record including Kisan Bahi; registered rent/lease deed (in case of Tenant); registered sale deed in case of own house.
The news agency report quoting the order further said these guidelines further provide that in case none of the mentioned documents is available, field verification is a must. For example, a category like homeless Indian citizens who are otherwise eligible to become electors but do not possess any documentary proof of ordinary residence, the Electoral Registration Officer shall designate an officer for field verification.
“It has been noticed that some eligible voters are facing hardships in registration as Voters for non-availability of documents mentioned hereinabove; Now, therefore, keeping In view the urgency involved in the matter and to ensure that no eligible voter is left for registration during the Special Summary Revision, 2022. In District Jammu, all Tehslldars are authorized to issue certificates of residence after conducting necessary field verifications, to the person(s) residing In District Jammu for more than one year, for the purpose,” added the order.
However, the move received backlash from former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti and former minister Ghulam Nabi Azad.
“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 and business,” Mehbooba tweeted.
The former CM of the erstwhile state further said, “BJP’s attempts to create religious and regional divisions between Jammu and Kashmir must be thwarted because whether it a Kashmiri or a Dogra, safeguarding our identity and rights will be possible only if we put up a collective fight.”
Notably, in August, Election Commission announced the schedule of the Special Summary Revision in Jammu and Kashmir and announced that the people who were not voters in the Assembly after the abrogation of Article 370 from the region can now be named on the voter’s list.