Merger of J&K cadre : A move to keep Kashmiri officers away from Kashmir

It has been almost 18 months when in August, 2019, Indian Government led by Modi revoked the special status of Jammu & Kashmir and bifurcated the State into two Union territories. Many changes have happened since then in context to the August 5 decision. The recent one is merger of J&K cadre into AGMUT. In the first week of January, the Government of India merged the Jammu and Kashmir civil services cadre which includes Indian Administrative Service, Indian Police Service and Indian Forest Service with AGMUT i.e., Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Mizoram and all Union Territories.

A notification signed by President Ram Nath Kovind and issued by the Ministry of Law and Justice, the members of IAS, IPS and Indian Forest Service for the existing cadre of Jammu and Kashmir will now become part AGMUT (Arunachal, Goa, Mizoram and Union Territories) cadre, reports HT. Through 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 central Government, all the civil services officers of J&K will have to work according to the rules and regulations of the central government. Earlier 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 is a joint cadre of the three Indian states of Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Mizoram and the Union Territories, which now includes Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh UTs.

Pro-India political parties in Jammu and Kashmir were demanding restoration of statehood back, but now J&K has been included in the 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 get the objectives of the August 5 decision. Last Year, on April 7 a picture of a meeting led by the LG, GC Murmu went viral on social media in which out of 20 officers only one among them was Muslim that too 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 ten sitting judges only 2 are Muslims. Similarly, the chairman of the Jammu and Kashmir Bank is a non-Muslim. Further, only three of the Commissioner Secretaries and Principal Secretaries are Muslims among 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, 2 out of 10 districts of Kashmir have non-Muslim and 2 two have non-Kashmiri DCs. As far as the police department is concerned, the police heads of 8 out of 13 police districts of Kashmir are non-Muslim. The J&K police chief and Kashmir division police head are also Hindus. Last time the Muslim police chief was in Jammu and Kashmir was in 1989.

Locals are calling the change in the Jammu and Kashmir bureaucracy a plan to make KAshmiris disempower. Kashmir has 98% of muslim population. In J&K 68% are Muslims,28% are Hindus and others are buddhists , Sikhs and Christians. This was not the only decision which will effect the Kashmir. Last year, centre announced new Land laws for J&K which says that no outsider needs any kind of domicile or permenant residence certificate to purchase the non- agricultural land in J&K. Locals say that the Modi Govt. was talking about development after revocation of special status, but rather we have seen destruction and further alienation.

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