The systematic demographic Changes in IIOJ&K | By Prof Dr Muhammad Khan


The systematic demographic Changes in IIOJ&K

AFTER illegal re-occupation of Jammu and Kashmir territory on 5 August, 2019, India introduced new domicile laws for the citizenship of the state.

As per these domicile laws, issued on 1 April, 2020, any person who has resided in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) for certain duration would be able to get domicile of the state.

As defined by Jammu and Kashmir Civil Services (Decentralisation and Recruitment) Act, a domiciled person is one, “who has resided for a period of 15 years in the territory or has studied for a period of seven years and appeared in class 10 or 12 examinations” in the educational institutions situated in IIOJK.

Later in October 2020, through another amendment, India allowed non-Kashmiris to buy the land of IIOJK.

The former puppet Chief Minister of IIOJK tweeted, “Unacceptable amendments to the land ownership laws of J&K.

Even the tokenism of domicile has been done away with when purchasing non-agricultural land & transfer of agricultural land has been made easier.

J&K is now up for sale and the poorer small land holding owners will suffer.” Despite curfew and siege, the people of IIOJK are constantly resisting these laws and demographic changes being made there.

As per available information, more than 2.3 million non-Kashmiri Hindus have been given Kashmiri domiciles since 1 April, 2020. This is worst form of exploitation and human rights violation of Kashmiris by India.

All Indian Government doing in IIOJ&K aims illegal settlement of millions of non-Kashmiri Hindus in the occupied state for changing the demographic character of the state.

In the garb of continuous siege and curfew for the last twenty months in IIOJ&K, Indian authorities have started diluting Kashmir identity: the culture and civilization through various means. The Kashmiri identity is being put into question.

In the wordings of Professor Dr SaibaVarma, “Given the history of Indian state intervention in occupied Kashmir, there are efforts to destroy the local, distinctive cultural identity of Kashmiris and forcibly assimilate Kashmiri Muslims into a Hindu, Indian polity.”

Professor Dr SaibaVarma is professor of cultural and medical anthropology at the University of California, San Diego.

It is to be noted that Adaptation of State Laws Order-2020 after undoing the statehood of IIOJ&K on 5 August, 2019 was another major illegal step of India. It was a great violation of UN resolutions on Kashmir.

This law was introduced to make demographic changes in IIOJ&K. India is using four methods for making demographic changes in IIOJK.

One: establishment of Sanik colonies in various parts of the IIOJK where retired officers and soldiers of Indian Army and its paramilitary forces are being settled.

These officers and soldiers and their children from various parts of India are being issued with Kashmiri domicile based on their service in IIOJK.

Two: 17000 kanals of land has been allotted for making fortified colonies for the Kashmiri Pandits who were forced by Indian Army and Governor Jagmohan in the 1990s to migrate to India so that Muslim Kashmiris can be punished with clarity and total impunity.

According to Mr Mohammad Yusuf Taing, immediately after appointment of Governor Jagmohan on the night of 19 January, 1990, there was a mass evacuation of the Kashmiri Pandits from the Valley to Jammu and various Indian States.

Once Pandits left the Valley in huge numbers, the Indian Army undertook the shameful Gawkadal massacre of the Kashmiri Muslims.

The Gawkadal massacre was named after the Gawkadal Bridge in Srinagar, where on 21 January, 1990, the Indian Army and paramilitary troops massacred over 54 peaceful Kashmiri protesters and injured over 300.

This killing by Indian Army has been described as “the worst massacre in Kashmiri history”, through the use of brutal force.

Three; the Hindus who migrated from West Pakistan in 1947 are being settled in various parts of the Valley.

These Hindus have been residing in Jammu since then. Despite being non Kashmiris, they are rehabilitated in the Valley to change the demography of the state.

Four: Over 800 kanals of Kashmiri land on the north of Srinagar has already been allotted for Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board. This forest land is meant to settle the Hindu population from various parts of India.

In the garb of Hindu shrine, this all is meant for the demographic changes in the valley, which have over 95% Muslim population.

The indirect strategy of occupation through demographic changes in IIOJ&K has always been on the agenda of Indian State which was gradually executed by successive governments starting from Nehru. It is just a matter of time that the BJP is ruling India.

The world has not reacted to what India has done to Kashmiris in the last three decades, starting from 1990.

There have been massive human rights violations in IIOJ&K at the hands of Indian Army and its paramilitary forces.

Unfortunately, there was no tangible global response from international community against Indian atrocities in IIOJ&K.

Kashmiris expected from international community that Indian illegal act of relegating their State to Union Territory will be resented by UN, EU, OIC as well as major powers.

But nothing really happened after India introduced Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act-2019.

As said by Mr Swamy, a senior Indian BJP leader, in April 2020, India will make sure that no State in India should have over 30% Muslims population, the demographic changes in IIOJ&K are part of the same strategy.

Whereas India is making demographic changes in IIOJK through a well-planned overt strategy, what stops Government of Pakistan from making a reference to International Court of Justice against this blatant Indian violation of UN Charter, UN resolutions over Kashmir and Fourth Geneva Convention? Unfortunately, no worthwhile action has been taken by the Government to counter and stop Indian strategy of making demographic changes in IIOJK.

In the absence of any tangible response, India is brutally crushing the resistance movement of Kashmiri youth through deployment of its over 900,000 security forces personnel.

— The writer is Professor of Politics and IR at International Islamic University, Islamabad.