As AGMUT works under the Central Government, all the civil services officers of J&K will have to work according to the rules and regulations of the Centre
Rezwan Sultan | Clarion India
IT has been almost 18 months since August, 2019 when the Indian government led by Narendra Modi revoked the special status of Jammu & Kashmir and bifurcated the state into two Union territories. Many changes have happened since the August 5 decision, the recent one being merger of J&K cadre with AGMUT–Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Mizoram and all Union Territories.
In the first week of January, the government of India merged the Jammu and Kashmir civil services cadre–which includes the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), the Indian Police Service (IPS) and the Indian Forest Service–with AGMUT.
As per the notification signed by President Ram Nath Kovind and issued by the Ministry of Law and Justice, the members of IAS, IPS and the Indian Forest Service for the existing cadre of Jammu and Kashmir will now become part of AGMUT cadre, reports Hindustan Times. Through the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Amendment) Ordinance, 2021, the changes have been made to Sections 13 and 88 of the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019.
As AGMUT works under the Central Government, all the civil services officers of J&K will have to work according to the rules and regulations of the Centre. Earlier, the Jammu and Kashmir cadre was under the state government.
Now the civil service officers of the three states and all UTs coming under AGMUT will be posted in Jammu and Kashmir, and, similarly, the officers of Jammu and Kashmir will be posted in these areas. AGMUT, which hitherto was a joint cadre of the three Indian states of Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Mizoram and the Union Territories, now includes Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh UTs.
Pro-India political parties in Jammu and Kashmir were demanding restoration of statehood, but now J&K has been included in AGMUT which means Delhi has put a full stop to it. Analysts say the aim is to keep Kashmiri officials away from Kashmir to disempower the Kashmiris and to meet the objectives of the August 5 decision.
Last Year, on April 7, a picture of a meeting led by the Lieutenant-General G C Murmu went viral on social media in which out of 20 officers, only one was Muslim, that, too, a non-Kashmiri. If we look at this picture in today’s context, according to a report published in The Hindu, out of 66 top officials in J&K, 38 are from other states. The Chief Justice of the J&K High Court is a non-Muslim and a non-Kashmiri.
While among the ten sitting judges, only two are Muslims. Similarly, the chairman of the Jammu and Kashmir Bank is a non-Muslim. Further, only three of the Commissioner Secretaries and the Principal Secretaries are Muslims among the total 16, and, surprisingly, all 13 officers in Raj Bhawan are non-Muslim and non-Kashmiri. The Divisional Commissioner of Kashmir is also a non-Muslim.
And after the recent postings and transfers, two out of the 10 districts of Kashmir have non-Muslim district collectors and two have non-Kashmiri collectors. As far as the police department is concerned, the police heads of eight out of 13 police districts of Kashmir are non-Muslim. The J&K police chief and the Kashmir division police head are also Hindus. The last time Jammu and Kashmir had a Muslim police chief was in 1989.
Locals are calling the change in the Jammu and Kashmir bureaucracy a plan to disempower Kashmiris. Kashmir has 98% Muslim population. In J&K, 68% are Muslims,28% are Hindus and others are Buddhists, Sikhs and Christians. The merger with AGMUT is not the only decision which will affect Kashmir.
Last year, the Centre announced new land laws for J&K which say that no outsider needs any kind of domicile or permanent residence certificate to purchase the non-agricultural land in J&K. Locals say that the Modi regime was talking about development after revocation of the special status, but, rather, Kashmiris have seen only destruction and further alienation.
Rezwan Sultan is a journalist based in Kashmir.