Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik said his administration was not considering any changes to the legislation governing permanent resident certificates or PRCs in the state, after National Conference leader Omar Abdullah said his party would oppose any move aimed at changing the act.
“At the outset, I would like to mention that the government is not making or even considering any changes to the act governing permanent resident certificates in the state. It is an integral part of the legal structure of Jammu and Kashmir and there is no attempt whatsoever to tamper with this law,” Mr Malik said in his letter addressed to Mr Abdullah.
The Permanent Residency Status is linked to the Constitution’s Article 35A – which grants the state its special status and has been challenged in the Supreme Court. It classifies people who are eligible as permanent residents in Jammu and Kashmir and enjoy special rights and privileges.
Earlier on Sunday, the former chief minister wrote to the governor, saying the National Conference would oppose any move to change the procedure to grant PRCs – a highly sensitive issue in the state.
“As for the matters in the rest of your letter, I would like to highlight that no changes in the procedural rules governing the issue of PRCs will ever be done without larger consultations with all stakeholders,” the governor said.
However, he said, “in view of the concerns expressed by you, I will assure you that nothing will be done to modify the procedures for issuing PRCs”.
“It has been observed that many genuine applicants face avoidable difficulties in getting a PRC… It is in this context of having a hassle-free process of bonafide applicants that I believe the revenue department has sought comments from a few others,” Mr Malik said.
“This is a routine administrative matter and unnecessary meanings should not be read into it,” he added.
On Abdullah’s remarks that the fax machine at the Governor’s House was not working, Mr Malik said, “Incidentally my fax machine was working and your fax was received and confirmed by my office while you were tweeting that it was not functional.”
“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 meantime am forced to put the letter out through social media,” Mr Abdullah had tweeted, along with his letter.