Webinar terms Indian settler colonialism threat to IIOJK population

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Speakers at a webinar have raised alarm over the Indian settler-colonization strategies in Indian ille-gally occupied Jammu and Kashmir and termed it a serious existential threat to the region’s indigenous population.

The webinar “Colonization of Indian Occupied Kashmir, Machinations and Impact” was organised by Kashmir Institute of International Relations (KIIR), in collaboration with World Muslim Con-gress, on the sidelines of 47th session of the UN Human Rights Council.

It was attended by noted human rights activists, scholars, academicians, international law experts and representatives of civil society rights organiza-tions hailing from different parts of the world, in-cluding former foreign secretary of Pakistan Ms Tehmina Jangua, former Senator, Lee Rhiannon Parliament of Australia, Dr Mubeen Shah, Sheni Hamid, Ms Claire Bidwell, co-founder, Let Kashmir Decide Movement, Barrister Ninda Salam, Dr Syed Waqas Ali Kausar, Ahmed Qureshi and Brig Dr Saif ur Rehman. The event was hosted by the KIIR Chairman, Altaf Hussain Wani.

The KIIR chief in his initial remarks, while highlighting the dark aspects of India’s neo-colonialism, said the successive Indian governments have religiously pursued and practiced neo-colonial politics, which goes in synch with the incumbent BJP government’s Zionist-type policy to strengthen New Delhi’s grip over the territory, taking advan-tage of its resources and deny its people the right to self-determination promised to them by the interna-tional community.

Referring to the 5th August 2019 move, he said, “It was a classical example of the Machiavellian machination and mischief by the Indian state that has never hesitated in using the repressive state apparatus to erase the Kashmiris’ political, cultural and national identity.

After stripping the region of its semi-autonomous status, Mr Wani pointed out that the BJP government launched an excessive and whole-sale constitutional onslaught against Kashmir to wipe out the state’s homogeneous character.

Terming it as another step in India’s long his-tory of colonising Kashmir, he said, “Since then an inclusive settler-colonialism drive has been under way to replace the indigenous population with a new society of settlers.”

About a series of new anti-Kashmir laws en-forced in the territory, the speakers said, the BJP government extended over 200 laws to change the entire nomenclature of the territory.

“In addition, drastic changes were made in the IIOJK laws that besides opening floodgates for Indian settlers en-abled them to have more capital to take over Kash-miri lands,” he added.

Underling the devastating impacts of Indian colonization on the Kashmiri people, the speakers said, “Illegal occupation of indigenous people’s lands in Kashmir has been central to the BJP’s set-tler-colonial project”.

In order to pave a way for non-Kashmiris to settle in the region and buy prop-erties, they said, the state’s land law, Revenue Act and Control of Building Operations Act, 1988 and the Development Act, 1970 were decisively amended to facilitate outsiders.

“Massive amendments were made in the Control of Building Operations Act
CBOA), 1988, that gave sweeping powers to the Indian army to acquire more land in Kashmir.

Referring to a report, they said, “Over 4.30 lakh kanals of land in IIOJK is already under the illegal occupation of Indian military and paramilitary forces.

“The amendments in CBOA-1988 and the De-velopment Act, in other words mean more destruc-tion, plunder of state-land and disempowerment of the locals”, they added.

“The amendments in the state’s domicile law, in particular, have been made to expedite the process of demographic changes in the occupied territory and the BJP’s long cherished goal of turning the majority of Kashmiri Muslims into the minority in their own homeland”, they said, adding that the blatant usurpation of Kashmiris’ fundamental rights by India and its attempts to change their demogra-phy constitute a serious violation of international law.

“Along with land grab and resource extraction, there are other dangerous aspects of settler-colonial state formations, which pose a serious existential threat to Kashmiris”, the speakers maintained.

Apart from these tactical moves, the wanton killings of youth, systematic genocide and policy of dehumanization of indigenous people, on the other hand, depict terrifying and dark aspects of the In-dian military occupation.

Urging the world community to take effective notice of India’s machinations, they said the global community needs to realize the dangers in Kashmir and play their due role in resolving the lingering dispute to ensure durable peace and stability in the region.

The speakers stressed the need for an offensive diplomatic campaign at international level to expose India’s nefarious game plan and to counter its con-cocted narrative on Kashmir.

To sensitize the world about the Indian govern-ment’s machinations, the speakers suggested forma-tion of joint working groups and investing more in intellectual capital to reach out to international think tanks, media houses and policy circles.—KMS

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