No move to change permanent resident rules: Satya Pal Malik

Governor Satya Pal Malik on Sunday evening said the government was not making or even considering any changes to the Permanent Resident Certificate rules. He issued the statement in response to National Conference vice-president Omar Abdullah’s concerns over reports of change in the rules.
The Governor wrote: “It (The J&K Permanent Resident Certificate Act) is an integral part of the legal structure of Jammu and Kashmir and there is no step whatsoever to tamper with this law.”

Earlier in the day, Omar wrote a letter to Governor urging him to refrain from changing the Permanent Resident Certificate (PRC) rules and warned that it would disturb the state’s “fragile” peace.

Omar said his party believed that any change to the PRC was “objectionable and condemnable”. “Our party, the National Conference, is of the opinion that this is an attempt to distort the demography of the state and finds it detrimental to J&K’s special status,” Omar said in the letter to the Governor.

He also warned the Governor that J&K was a “sensitive state and any misadventure by the SAC (State Administrative Council) could disturb the fragile and precarious peace here”.

Responding to Omar’s concerns, the Governor wrote, “As for the matters in your letter, I would like to highlight that no changes in the procedural rules governing the issue of PRC will ever be done without the larger consultation of all stakeholders.”

The Governor further said the issuing of the PRC to genuine state subject applicants would be eased and they should get it within 30 days as prescribed in the Public Service Guarantee Act.

In the letter, Omar had said that the SAC headed by the Governor was “unilaterally bringing changes in the working of institutions and procedures, a practice that is against the principles and spirit of democracy and participative governance”.

Omar further warned that any attempt to change the PRC rules would be a “brazen act to further create mistrust among people here and can have serious ramification for the prospects of peace and harmony in J&K”. This move comes at a time when the state does not have a popularly elected government. The Assembly has been dissolved and elections are due within months. This makes your administration open to question as we believe the role of the government is more in the nature of a caretaker government,” Omar said.