Srinagar, Jan 1: The murder of 70-year-old Punjab born jeweller, Satpal Nischal by motorcycle-borne terrorists in J&K’s Srinagar city has thrown up a new challenge for the security forces.
The incident took place on Thursday.
Having lived and worked in Kashmir for 40 years, Satpal Nischal had obtained a domicile certificate last year and purchased a house in the high security Indira Nagar area of Srinagar city in addition to a shop in the Sarai Bala area, where the terrorists shot him dead.
Under the new laws that followed the abrogation of Articles 370 and 35A, any citizen of India, who fulfils the mandated requirements, can obtain a domicile certificate and thereby own property in J&K.
Nischal had used these provisions of the law to own property in Kashmir.
Ironically, the jeweller’s desire to spend the rest of his life in Kashmir finally became the reason for his murder.
The Resistance Front (TRF), a terror outfit, owned responsibility for the murder asserting that the new domicile law is ‘unacceptable and any outsider who tries to own property here would meet the same fate’.
The TRF is believed to be an amalgam of the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) and Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) outfits.
A lesser known terror outfit calling itself the United Liberation Front of J&K has praised TRF and warned ‘outsiders’ not to purchase property in J&K unless they are prepared to meet the jeweller’s fate.
A major objective of the abrogation of J&K’s special status has been the total integration of the state with the rest of the country.
Lawful equality with respect to purchase of property cannot be allowed to be sabotaged by murder and mayhem of innocent citizens by the terrorists.
There are hundreds of citizens belonging to outside J&K who have been living here for many decades. Such people have the legal right after the abrogation of Article 35A to buy and own property here.
After the murder of this Amritsar-born jeweller, who lived in Kashmir for over 40 years, security forces are faced with a grim challenge.
What was constitutionally abrogated cannot be allowed to be reclaimed through the barrel of the gun.
Year 2021 will be the litmus test for not only the security forces, but also for those who claim to be fighting a legal battle to reclaim J&K’s special status.
Protection of people who have been serving Kashmiris for decades cannot only be left to the security forces. A right lawfully transferred to such people must be protected at all costs as long as it remains legal.
Satpal Nischal’s murder is also a grim reminder of the fact that all is not well at the ground level in Kashmir.
Peace and tranquility remained a far cry in 2020. Will it become a reality in 2021? J&K’s time to permanent peace starts now.