Article: India’s agenda in Kashmir

Sajjad Shaukat

In his book, ‘The Prince’, Machiavelli advises the rulers to have a lion-like image outwardly, and act upon the traits of a goat internally. He also suggests, the use of terror to obtain their goals. In his sense, a good ruler should be a good opportunist and hypocrite. Since Narendra Modi, the fanatic leader of the extremist ruling party BJP, became the Indian prime minister, he has been following the discarded tactics of Machiavelli in the modern era. Under his regime, the persecution of religious minorities such as Sikhs, Christians, and especially Muslims—Kashmiri Muslims have been intensified in accordance with the ideology of Hindutva (Hindu Nationalism).

In this regard, under a well-planned hidden agenda, the Modi-led regime has accelerated the implementation of bringing demographic changes in the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK). India’s move to register almost 2.5 million new non-local voters in the IIOJK triggered outrage among the local Kashmiris and Muslims, as it will permit voting rights to any Indian citizen living temporarily in the region. Jammu and Kashmir Chief Electoral Officer Hirdesh Kumar told reporters on August 17, this year that more than 2 million new voters are expected to be enrolled in the region ahead of local polls due in November 2022.

Taking note of the Indian illegal act, in a statement issued on August 19, 2022, the Foreign Office spokesperson (FO) Asim Iftikhar said: “Pakistan categorically rejects the deliberate Indian attempts of pre-poll rigging and overt manipulation in the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir…permitting temporary residents to register as voters is a clear manifestation of the treacherous Indian design to influence the outcome of so-called elections in the territory.” He further stated: “Pakistan reiterates its complete rejection of India’s entire litany of steps aimed at turning the Muslim majority into a minority, including the formulation of the so-called ‘Delimitation’ Commission and its baseless report, the issuance of fake Kashmiri domiciles to millions of outsiders, and changes in the property laws”, called on “the international community to take cognisance of its attempts at effecting illegal demographic changes in the [occupied Jammu and Kashmir] region.”

The FO added: “India will not be able to break the will of the Kashmiri people or to mislead the world community.” Besides human rights organisations and NGOs, the main political parties of the IIOJK have sharply criticised the move as Kashmiris fear that the rule changes will allow the extremist Hindu-nationalist BJP government to alter the demographics of the region. In fact, Indian brutal actions against the Muslim Kashmiris reached their peak on August 5, 2019, when the Indian government led by the biased Indian Prime Minister Modi abrogated articles 35A and 370 of the Constitution, which gave a special status to the disputed territory of the IIOJK. Indian regime split Jammu and Kashmir into two union territories—Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh to be ruled by the federal government. Indian rulers have also issued over 1.8 million domicile certificates to non-Kashmiris to change the ethno-demographic structure of the IIOJK. And the Indian government introduced many new laws and amended several others to facilitate non-Kashmiris and outsiders in order to usurp the rights of the Muslim Kashmiris. In this connection, the J&K Civil Services (Decentralisation and Recruitment) Act enables all those who lived in the occupied state for 15 years or studied there for seven years may apply for domicile. Even those who have appeared in class 10th or 12th examinations in Kashmir may also avail of this opportunity. The domicile holders have the right to job in Kashmir and they can purchase property and have ownership rights. In New Delhi in October 2020 introduced a new law i.e. Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Adaptation of Central Laws) Third Order, 2020, enabling any Indian citizen to buy property in the territory. The Kashmir Media Service (KMS) News Org on August 5, 2022, indicated: “The Modi regime has initiated the process of delimitation of Lok Sabha and assembly constituencies in J&K with an aim to give more seats to Hindu-dominated areas of Jammu division.

By doing this, the RSS-backed Indian regime wants to gain majority whenever so-called Assembly elections are held in IIOJK and install its own chief minister in the occupied territory.” In its various reports, Al Jazeera wrote: “Kashmiris fear the new laws, are aimed at a land grab to dilute the Muslim-majority character of the region…The new laws also allow the lands acquired by the government for industrial or commercial purposes to be disposed of or sold to any Indian. These also authorise the Indian army to declare any area as “strategic” for operational and training purposes.”

India intends to thwart the related UN resolutions which recognise that Jammu and Kashmir is a disputed territory and that the right to self-determination of the Kashmiri people will be decided after holding a plebiscite. So, if New Delhi is compelled to hold a plebiscite in Jammu and Kashmir in the future, the results can go in the Indian favour. Another Indian hidden objective is that the demographic changes will quell a decades-long independence movement of the Kashmiris. But, despite the deployment of more than 900,000 military troops in the IIOJK, who have martyred thousands of the Kashmiris through brutal tactics-fake encounters, New Delhi has failed in repressing the Kashmiris’ prolonged war of liberation.

Courtesy The Nation

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