Changes in IHK de­mo­graphic make-up

Pakistan Observer - - EDITORIALS & COMMENTS - Mo­ham­mad Jamil Email: mjamil1938@hot­

had been ear­marked by the Cen­tre for re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion of mi­grants. BJP’s State gen­eral sec­re­tary Ashok Kaul had also stated that the party would im­ple­ment its plan of a sep­a­rate home­land for the Kash­miri Pan­dits ir­re­spec­tive of Mr. Say­eed’s state­ment. In a sur­prise devel­op­ment, a group of Kash­miri Pan­dits liv­ing in the Val­ley joined JKLF-spon­sored protest against the pro­posed set­ting up of town­ship for the mi­grant mi­nor­ity com­mu­nity.

Ed­u­ca­tion­ists Pan­dit Vishin Jee, Pan­dit Moti Lal Bhat, so­cial worker Ku­mar Jee Wan­choo, busi­ness­man Moti Lal Dhar and sev­eral women of the com­mu­nity had joined JKLF chair­man Mo­ham­mad Yasin Ma­lik in the protest at Maisuma af­ter Fri­day prayers. The Kash­miri Pan­dits told re­porters that there was no need and no use of mak­ing sep­a­rate colonies. They were of the view that only the ma­jor­ity com­mu­nity can en­sure se­cu­rity of mi­nori­ties, and mak­ing sep­a­rate home­land will cre­ate more wedges be­tween com­mu­ni­ties. Last year, for­mer chief min­is­ter of Mad­hya Pradesh Digvi­jay Singh said it was the then Gov­er­nor of J&K Jag­mo­han who forced Kash­miri Pan­dits to leave the val­ley on Jan­uary 19, 1990. “Kash­miri Pan­dits were un­nec­es­sar­ily forced to leave the Val­ley by the then gov­er­nor Jag­mo­han. Hin­dus and Mus­lims lived to­gether for Cen­turies in Kash­mir,” Digvi­jay Singh wrote on mi­croblog­ging site Twit­ter.

It was not the first time that a se­nior congress leader blamed Jag­mo­han for the mi­gra­tion of Kash­miri Pan­dits (KPs) from Val­ley af­ter erup­tion of mil­i­tancy in the State. Se­nior Congress leader Mani Shankar Ai­yar in his book ti­tled, “Con­fes­sions of a Sec­u­lar Fun­da­men­tal­ist” has writ­ten in de­tail how Jag­mo­han gave a safe pas­sage to KPs to Jammu be­fore un­leash­ing “terror” in the val­ley. Ac­cord­ing to in­de­pen­dent ob­servers some 20000 Kash­miri Hin­dus/Pun­dits had left the Val­ley. But In­dian gov­ern­ment func­tionar­ies claimed that 200000 to 300000 were forced to leave the val­ley. This is be­ing done to mem­bers of ex­trem­ist groups to change the de­mog­ra­phy of the IOK. In June 2008, Kash­miris had launched an ag­i­ta­tion against the state gov­ern­ment’s de­ci­sion to trans­fer 40 hectares of land to the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB). Ar­ti­cle 370 specif­i­cally pro­hibits the sale of land to non-Kash­miris.

In­dian gov­ern­ment is pur­su­ing the pol­icy of turn­ing its Mus­lim ma­jor­ity of IOK into a mi­nor­ity by di­vid­ing the pop­u­la­tion on eth­nic, re­li­gious and com­mu­nal lines. In In­dian Oc­cu­pied Kash­mir, a sus­tained po­lit­i­cal move­ment has been on­go­ing since 1947 against India. How­ever, Kash­miri youth took up the arms in 1989, and es­ti­mates put the num­ber of civil­ian ca­su­al­ties dur­ing the past twenty five years at 100,000. Peo­ple of Kash­mir cel­e­brate Pak­istan day, and they ob­serve India’s na­tional republic day on Jan­uary 26 as black day? On the oc­ca­sion, black flags fly on rooftops of homes and shops through­out the val­ley. And the day’s of­fi­cial cer­e­monies are held in a mas­sively for­ti­fied sta­dium in Srinagar, with an ex­tremely se­lected au­di­ence in at­ten­dance. All roads and al­leys to the venue are closed down to the pub­lic, while he­li­copters keep fly­ing over it for sur­veil­lance un­til the cer­e­monies end.

Naren­dra Modi started im­ple­ment­ing the plan to make Hindu set­tle­ments on the pat­tern of Is­raeli set­tle­ments in the West Bank. In the first phase, 200 kanals of land were al­lot­ted in Bara­mula dis­trict. The plan is to set­tle 300000 Hin­dus in the Val­ley. Hur­riyat leader Syed Ali Gi­lani has said: “India is play­ing a dan­ger­ous game, as con­spir­acy has been hatched to make an­other Pales­tine in In­dian Oc­cu­pied Kash­mir.” Ac­cord­ing to law of the state, nonKash­miris could not pur­chase or ac­quire land in IHK; hence al­lot­ment of land to Delhi-based Amarnath Shrine trust was vi­o­la­tion of the law. In fact, Congress-led gov­ern­ment had ear­lier al­lot­ted a piece of land near the shrine ap­par­ently to fa­cil­i­tate Hindu pil­grims that throng the shrine in hun­dreds of thou­sand, but Kash­miris were sus­pi­cious of the gov­ern­ment’s in­ten­tions, as it en­cour­aged mi­gra­tion of Hin­dus to the state with a view to di­lut­ing Kash­miri Mus­lims’ ma­jor­ity in IHK.

There have been atroc­i­ties on the peo­ple, mass killings and the most fla­grant of hu­man rights abuses in Kash­mir dur­ing the last six decades. Af­ter Pales­tini­ans, Kash­miris are per­haps the worst suf­fer­ers in the mod­ern his­tory, yet in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity feels no qualms about the in­hu­man treat­ment meted out to them. How­ever, Pak­istani na­tion is united in its sup­port to their Kash­miri brethren to achieve their in­alien­able right of self-de­ter­mi­na­tion promised to them by the UN. Kash­miris are not de­terred by the atroc­i­ties com­mit­ted by the In­dian forces, which fact is ac­knowl­edged by an In­dian army Gen­eral. The other day, talk­ing to a US news agency Lt. Gen­eral Hoda said that de­spite spend­ing bil­lions, India failed to win the hearts of Kash­miri peo­ple, adding that the peo­ple sup­port Mu­jahideen while they don’t show any sym­pa­thy for the In­dian troops fight­ing the Mu­jahideen. —The writer is a se­nior jour­nal­ist based in La­hore.

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