India axes rule on IIOJK voting rights after political parties’ outcry

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New Delhi scrapped on Thursday a rule granting voting rights to new residents of Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) after widespread anger among political parties, who labelled it a bid to change the demographics of the Muslim-majority region.

In 2019, India stripped the disputed region of its remaining measure of autonomy, reorganising IIOJK into two federally-controlled territories and changing the constitution to let non-Kashmiris vote and own land there.

The rule scrapped on Thursday had been introduced just two days earlier in one district of 20 in the occupied region.

It had allowed Indians who have lived in IIOJK for a year or more to register as voters, replacing a rule that limited the franchise only to those who had lived there in 1947 – the year that India gained independence – or their descendants. —Reuters

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