close
Advertisement
Can't connect right now! retry

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!
August 18, 2020

Turning Kashmir into a religious conflict [Comment]

National

August 18, 2020

While the second year of Indian subjugation of Kashmiris has begun, so did the conflict taking purely religious undertones with stark Indian efforts to change the demography of the Valley. According to the new draconian laws, people residing for a period of 15 years in occupied Kashmir or those who have studied for seven years and appeared in Class 10-12 examinations in educational institutions of the region can become permanent residents. Also, the children of central government officials who have served in the Indian-administered Kashmir for a total period of 10 years can get domiciles. More than 99 percent of such officials are non-Muslims and have unfriendly attitude towards the local residents over whom they have ruled and subjugated them to atrocities.

A retired senior government official Kapil Kak, who has challenged the abrogation of Article 370 in the Indian Supreme Court, told the international media in an interview that it was "a permanent resident by stealth. It should worry the Kashmiris."

It has been reported that 25,000 people have already been granted domicile certificates in Kashmir since May 18, 2020. The certificate is citizenship right and entitles a person to residency and government jobs in the region.

At the same time, a 196-page report, “The Siege: A Year Since Abrogation” was recently released by the members of Jammu and Kashmir Solidarity Group and Pakistan-India People’s Forum for Peace and Democracy.

Based on eyewitness accounts by fact-finding teams, it says the Indian government “has violated internationally recognized fundamental rights and its constitutional values and guaranteed freedoms”. The report, not unexpectedly, accused India of committing “gross injustices, ranging from kidnapping and torture of minors to decimating the identity of people”.

About the abrogation of Article 370, it said "The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) [patron organization of various Hindu right wing groups, including the BJP] could not live with the fact that Jammu and Kashmir is a Muslim majority region and that its status was protected by law, that is, Article 370 and Article 35A of Indian constitution.

“The whole purpose of revoking Article 370 was to settle outsiders here and change the demography of the state. Now, this law has been created to provide modalities to settle many categories of Indians in Jammu and Kashmir.”

The new laws undermine ownership rights of Kashmiri people over immovable properties and facilitate the takeover of land for industry and military control. According to observers, New Delhi has amended 109 laws and scrapped 29 more in the region since August 5, 2019. Efforts are in full gear to transform the region into a Hindu majority state. Earlier, the Indians had been doing propaganda that local Kashmiri resistance had been hijacked by al-Qaeda or Daesh operatives. This was one way to discredit the local confrontation against the occupiers.

Haseeb Drabu, an economist who was also the finance minister of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir, said that on August 5, 2019, J&K was a political problem, an internal security concern and a bilateral issue with international ramifications. Today, it is a communalised Hindu-Muslim problem, an internal and external security threat and an international issue with at least three sovereign stakeholders.

He writes: “Not surprisingly, around the rest of the world, a narrative is building up about India persecuting its minorities. Public opinion in the Islamic world has perked up in the past six months. Even though the governments of key Islamic countries, be it Saudi Arabia or the United Arab Emirates, haven’t reacted formally as yet, others like Turkey and Malaysia have been more than active.”

He categorically adds: “It is perhaps for the first time ever that Pakistan is being successful in dominating this narrative. Of course, the US has more than contributed to this development post the ‘Afghan deal’. The movements of the Chinese troops along the border, which rang alarm bells all around, is a direct fallout of the situation in Kashmir. The moot point is that the goodwill of the global community for India, in particular liberal political opinion, may be at a premium in the near future.”

The measure to change the demography of the region by settling Hindus is a sure way to cause further confrontation between the two groups and religious violence in the region.