CERTIFICATE OF RESIDENCE | DC Jammu withdraws order amid outrage

All Party Meet in Jammu on Oct 16 to discuss issue
Deputy Commissioner Jammu Avny Lavasa
Deputy Commissioner Jammu Avny Lavasa Twitter/ @AvnyLavasa

Jammu: Deputy Commissioner Jammu Avny Lavasa on Thursday confirmed that the order authorizing all Tehsildars to issue a certificate of residence to the people residing in the Jammu district for more than one year was withdrawn.

“Yes, the order has been withdrawn,” the DC Jammu told Greater Kashmir when asked about the status of the order.

Earlier, the DC had issued an order authorizing all the “Tehsildars to issue a certificate of residence, after conducting necessary field verifications, to the persons residing in district Jammu for more than one year, for the purpose” (of registration as a voter).

The order was withdrawn after the regional and national political parties questioned the move to include non-locals as new voters in Jammu ahead of assembly polls.

Not only in Kashmir but in Jammu as well different political parties and activists registered protests and demanded the withdrawal of the order. JKPCC president Vikar Rasool Wani also opposed the move to “add non-locals as new voters.”

Quoting guidelines issued by the Election Commission of India about documents for registration of electors, the DC Jammu in the order (now withdrawn) had said that the water or electricity or gas connection for one year; Aadhaar card; current passbook of nationalized or scheduled bank or post office; Indian passport; revenue department’s land-owning records including Kisan Bahi; registered rent or lease deed (in case of a tenant) and registered sale deed in case of own house could be accepted as proof of residence.

The order read, “These guidelines further provide that in case none of the mentioned documents is available, field verification is a must. For example, in a category like homeless Indian citizens who are otherwise eligible to become electros but do not possess any documentary proof of ordinary residence, Electoral Registration Officer shall designate an officer for field verification.”

Meanwhile, BJP general secretary (organisation), Ashok Koul said that the previous order issued by the Deputy Commissioner, Jammu was not faulty.

“We do not know why the order has been withdrawn but the same rights are available even in Delhi. One can become a voter even after residing for a few months there,” he said.

He said, “Aadhaar card is a voter card linked and no one can cast vote at two places at a time.”

However, JKPCC chief Vikar Rasool Wani said that the authorities were compelled after strong opposition by the political parties including Congress. “They had no option,” he added.

He informed that they would discuss the issue of “adding non-locals as voters in the scheduled all-party meet on October 16, 2022, in Jammu.”

“The issue of adding 25 lakh voters will be raised again to protect the rights of the people of Jammu and Kashmir,” he said.

As per a senior politician, the all-party meet will be held at the residence of the former Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah at Bhatindi in Jammu.

Congress, NC, PDP, Dogra Swabhiman Sangathan Party of Choudhary Lal Singh, Akali Dal, Shiv Sena, and various other social and political organizations of Jammu are likely to participate in the all-party meet.

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