Srinagar: Militants Gun Down Jewellery Store Owner for Getting 'Domicile Certificate'

The Resistance Front, which claimed responsibility for the attack, in a statement said that the victim, Satpal Nishal, was killed because he was an "RSS agent".

New Delhi: A 70-year-old jewellery shop owner in Srinagar’s Saraibala, Satpal Nischal, was shot dead by a militant group on Thursday allegedly for procuring a domicile certificate under the recently enacted law that enables eligible non-residents to have access to property and government jobs, which had been previously reserved for the locals, in Jammu and Kashmir.

As per the Jammu and Kashmir Grant of Domicile Certificate (Procedure) Rules 2020, individuals who have resided in J&K for 15 years or have studied for seven years or appeared in examinations for class X or XII are eligible for the domicile certificate. The eligibility also extends to West Pakistan refugees registered as migrants under the erstwhile state’s Relief and Rehabilitation Commission.

Nischal had obtained the certificate just a few weeks ago and was at his store when the attack took place. By the time he was taken to the nearby Shri Maharaja Hari Singh Hospital, he was already dead.

According to an Indian Express report, Nischal was a native of Gurdaspur in Punjab. He had applied for the domicile certificate after the rules were changed in the Valley following the reading down of Article 370 in August 2019.

“Since his daughter-in-law is originally from Jammu, he had recently bought a house in Indira Nagar area near to the Army 15 Corps headquarters, and a shop in Hari Singh High Street jewellery market in her name,” a source told Indian Express.

A new militant group named ‘The Resistance Front (TRF)’, believed to be linked to the Lashkar-e-Tayyaba by the authorities, has claimed responsibility for the attack.

In a statement, it confirmed that the attack was carried over the domicile issue. “The Resistance Front conducted an intelligence-based operation in Srinagar today in which an RSS agent, who was posing as a businessman, was neutralised,” the statement read.

“The individual was an active participant in the demographic change and settler colony project run by Hindutva fascists to alter the demography of Kashmir…The Resistance Front had already warned that any Indian national irrespective of faith, caste or colour, who comes to Kashmir with the intention of settling here, will be treated as an agent of the RSS and not as a civilian,” it added.

The investigation into the case is underway. “We are working on both aspects, i.e., business rivalry and the terrorist claim…We will share the details soon,” inspector general of police, Kashmir, Vijay Kumar told the national daily.