Srinagar: Efforts by Chief Minister Omar
Abdullah to resolve the controversy surrounding the Dogra
certificates appear to have put a dampener on the plans of
hardline Hurriyat Conference leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani to
launch protests during the coming summer.
Omar visited Delhi earlier this week and met Prime
Minister Manmohan Singh, Home Minister P Chidambaram and
Congress President Sonia Gandhi to end the uncertainty in
Kashmir as Geelani had threatened to launch protests against
the state government`s decision to issue Dogra certificates to
members of the community.
"The Chief Minister impressed upon the Central leadership
the need to modify the order which provides relaxation to
certain communities including Dogras in rules for recruitment
to paramilitary forces," highly placed government sources
The Dogra certificate issue, which was being used by some
elements in the state to vitiate the atmosphere, ended Friday
with the Union Home Ministry amending its earlier order and
announcing relaxation to all permanent residents of the state.
According to the earlier notification of the Ministry of
Home Affairs (MHA), residents of Kashmir, Ladakh and members
of the Dogra community were eligible for relaxation in minimum
standards of height and chest width required for recruitment
in paramilitary forces.
Omar argued with the Central leaders that while Kashmir
and Ladakh were described as geographical regions, the people
of Jammu were granted the same relaxation but identified as a
community, which was creating confusion in certain quarters,
the sources said.
They said the Chief Minister expressed apprehensions that
some separatist groups might take advantage of the confusion
to create trouble in the Valley, which has suffered immense
losses over the past three summers due to turmoil.
In its January order, the MHA had announced relaxation
for residents from Kashmir, Leh and Ladakh regions under the
geographical criteria while extended the same relaxation for
the Dogra people under the ethnic tribe community.
Taking a cue from this order, state revenue minister
Raman Bhalla had directed the tehsildars and deputy
commissioners of Jammu to issue `Dogra certificates`, a move
which prompted angry reaction from separatists and some
political parties alleging that this was a clear attempt to
divide the state on communal lines.
Following the amended notification from MHA, the order
issued by Bhalla for issuing Dogra Certificates will be
rescinded, the sources said.
The issue seems to have been resolved but Geelani insists
that the state Government Issue formal orders to revoke the
earlier order of the revenue minister.
"The Dogra certificate order has to be revoked. The
Permanent Resident Certificate issued to people of Jammu and
Kashmir should be enough for extending any concessions in
recruitment," Geelani said.
He claimed that Jammu and Kashmir was not any other state
like Nagaland, Himachal or Arunachal Pradesh as mentioned on
the website of the Home Ministry.
"This is a disputed territory but India has been making
attempts from time to time to bring it at par with its other
states," he added.