Hours after National Conference leader Omar Abdullah claimed that his attempt to send a letter to Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik on Sunday failed as the Raj Bhawan's fax machine was still not working, the latter issued a statement, saying his machine was working fine and his office had received the former chief minister’s fax while he was "tweeting that it was not functional”.
Abdullah was trying to fax a letter to Malik expressing the NC’s concerns over reports of changes proposed to the procedure of granting permanent residence certificates in the state. He also shared the letter on Twitter.
"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," Abdullah said in a tweet.
"J&K Raj Bhavan needs a new fax machine urgently," he said, retweeting a post from November 21.
“We are obligated to write to you at a time when you are mulling changes to the permanent resident certificate rules. Our party, the National Conference, is of the opinion that this is an attempt to distort the demography of the state and finds it detrimental to J&K’s special status,” Abdullah said in the letter to the governor.
In response to Abdullah’s tweet, Malik said the government had no plans to change the Act governing permanent resident certificates (PRCs) in the state, objecting to any alterations in the procedure.
"Raj Bhavan clarifies that letter faxed by Sh. Omar Abdullah, former chief minister J&K, was received by the Raj Bhavan and its receipt was confirmed to Sh. Tanvir Sadiq, Advisor to Sh. Omar Abdullah, at 3:44 PM today," the governor's office said.
“Permanent Resident Certificates are an integral part of the legal structure of J&K and there is no attempt, whatsoever, to tamper with this law. No changes in the procedural rules governing the issue of PR certificates will ever be done without larger consultations with all stakeholders,” Malik said in his reply to Abdullah.
Later, in damage-control tweets. Abdullah wrote: "This is how a mature democracy functions - we flag our concerns with the person in authority & those concerns are addressed. When we can’t meet face to face we use technology. I’m grateful to @jandkgovernor Malik Sb for his timely & detailed reply."
This is how a mature democracy functions - we flag our concerns with the person in authority & those concerns are addressed. When we can’t meet face to face we use technology. I’m grateful to @jandkgovernor Malik Sb for his timely & detailed reply.— Omar Abdullah (@OmarAbdullah) December 2, 2018
"@jandkgovernor Malik Sb’s assurance of consultation with stake holders is an important one. I believe a regular mechanism of discussion/consultation will be beneficial to the state as we move closer to elections."
The Jammu and Kashmir Raj Bhawan's fax machine made headlines last month when Malik abruptly dissolved the state assembly.
On November 21, letters to stake claim to form government by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and a two-member party, People's Conference, allegedly failed to reach the governor, apparently because the machine was not operational.
Malik later said the fax operator was unavailable on account of Eid-e-Milad-un-Nabi, which is a state holiday.
(With PTI inputs)