Modi fails to change Kashmir’s demography

Moving towards a Final Solution?

A series of events took place in which Kashmiri pandits (brahmin) or non-Kashmiri settlers in occupied Kashmir were attacked. Rahul Bhat, a pandit employee, in Budgam’s Chadoora was shot dead. on May 12. A Hindu teacher was shot dead outside a school where she worked. Some unknown person hurled a grenade at a group of Bihari workers, mostly brick-kiln labourers.  In protest, hundreds of Pandit employees left the valley.

Apparently to alter the demography of the occupied Kashmir, over 4,000 Pandits were recruited since 2008 under the Indian PM’s special employment package. Bihari settlers were issued domicile certificates to work and settle in the Valley. A vast tract of land was allotted to the military.

- Advertisement -

The Modi government has been reciting the mantra that all is hunky dory since abolition of statehood. The killing of non-Kashmiri settlers brought home the truth that the situation was not peaceful in occupied Kashmir.

Hindus in Jammu launched violent protests that the Pandit employees and Bihari employees should be relocated to safer locations. The Indian government relocated the 177 protesting employees to safer urban centres.

The militants have changed their strategy. They no longer take to social posts to own responsibility for the killing of the non-Kashmiris. A secular-sounding Resistance Group appears to be in the forefront. The Modi government however continues to propagate that it was just another splinter group of religious outfits like Lashkar-e-Toyaba, Jaishe-Mohammad or their ilk.

The group first surfaced with a grenade attack in October 2019. Injuring at least eight civilians on Srinagar’s busy Hari Singh High Street, it was the first grenade attack in the city after the region lost special status. India says it was in April 2020 that the group first drew official attention. An intense gunfight between militants and security forces in the Keran sector of the Line of Control, in North Kashmir’s Kupwara district, left five personnel of the Army’s elite Special Forces dead. An equal number of militants, all native Kashmirs, were also martyred.

The Resistance Front struck again that month, this time in Sopore, a town in North Kashmir’s Baramulla district, killing three personnel and injuring two others from the Central Reserve Police Force. More attacks followed in May 2020: a 16-hour gunfight with security forces in Kupwara district that killed five security personnel. Another attack on Central Reserve Police Force personnel left three personnel dead.

Members of The Resistance Front keep a low profile, unlike the Hizbul Mujahideen militants of recent years, who became household names and faces through their social media presence.

The Hindu protesters in Jammu have been demanding a crackdown on the Kashmiri population in the Valley. Already the Indian security forces are killing countless Kashmiris, even minors, in the guise of fake encounters. The killing of pandits may be used as an excuse to carry out genocide of the Kashmiri population.

- Advertisement -

The Kashmiri has been ruled by Shah Mirs and Sultans (1339-1586), Mughals (1586-1751), and Dogras (1846-1947).An immutable lesson of history is that they never reconciled with foreign rule. If they could no longer fight an invader with arms, they pelted stones on invaders (Moghal).  The stone throwers were called dilawars, and the Moghal, were addressed as shikas mogle. This Kashmiri-language expression is spoken when something is lost. C’est dommage in French (it’s too bad, or it’s tough) is a rough equivalent..

The Moghal were Muslim. Yet, the Kashmiri hated them. The expression Shikas mogle affords a peek into the Kashmiri heart and mind. They cursed foreigners, be they be Muslim. They are honest and simple, people, rather gullible though not imbeciles . They hate cheating and consider Akbar `the Great’ an epitome of treachery. Akbar invited Kashmir ruler Yusuf Chak (1579 – 1586) for talks. But treacherously imprisoned and killed him in Bihar state. Be it noted that Akbar had failed to subjugate Kashmir in his earlier two expeditions. After take-over, the Moghal lived in a walled nagri, city, later called Sri nagar). The helpless Kashmir used to throw stones at the walled city to express their anguish. The general feeling of hatred, Kashmiriyat, was akin to what Ibn-e-Khuldoon calls asabiya (national cohesion). It ran across all sects (Shia-Sunni), religions, castes and creeds.

It baffles one’s imagination how Kashmiris have sustained their spirit of resistance despite over174 years of oppression (Dogra rule 1846-1947 to India’s raj, 1947 onwards). India marched its forces into the Valley and annexed Kashmir on 27 October 1947. The self-conceited basis for India’s aggression was a fake instrument of accession. The world community does not recognise this so-called accession instrument. As such, the United Nations granted the right of self-determination to the Kashmiris. This right is enshrined in the UN’s resolutions of 1948 and 1949.

Let us have a glimpse of the Dogra’s reign of terror in Kashmir. To stifle the Kashmiri’s fighting spirit, the Dogra punished even Kashmiri children who played with slingshots (ghulail) and stones (Muhammad Yousaf Saraf, Kashmiris Fight for Freedom, vol. 1, p. 50). Under the Dogra rule, the Kashmiri were treated as no better than beasts of burden. Instead of donkeys and horses, Kashmiri Muslims were used to transport goods across Gilgit, Leh and Skardu. They carried luggage on their backs across glaciers as high as 17,000 feet. Thousands of them perished along the way each year owing to frostbite, falls from precipices, and hunger or sickness.

The reign of terror by Indian forces (now estimated at about 900,000 regulars and security personnel) who replaced the maharajah’s constabulary on 27 October 1947, is no less gruesome. International human rights organisations, as well as India’s National Human Rights Commission, have brought into limelight the Kashmiris’ mysterious disappearances, their custodial deaths, and countless rapes of hapless Kashmiri women.

Like the Dogra, Indian rulers are mercilessly exploiting Kashmiris’ economic resources. The bulk of locally-generated electricity is being diverted to Indian states. The tourism industry is in shambles. Highly educated people have no jobs. With no inflow of tourists, the shopkeepers have no business. Unlike the occupied Kashmir, all the socio-economic sectors in Azad Kashmir are progressing by leaps and bounds.

Neither Indians nor the Dogra could gag them. The struggle for freedom has continued unabated despite centuries of oppression.

The lesson from Kashmiris’ struggle for freedom is that repression or palliatives like elections in occupied Kashmir are no good. India shall have to allow the Kashmiris to exercise their right of self-determination.

India should learn a lesson from the history of Kashmir.  Dogra oppression spanned 101 years, 1846-1947 followed by Indian yoke for over 73 years, until today. The struggle for freedom goes on.  The sooner India replaces its terrorising military operation All-Out,  with –get-out, the better.

Modi’s government applied the Public Safety Act and the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act to stifle dissent. The Public Safety Act (PSA), 1978, of Jammu & Kashmir is an administrative detention law that allows detention of any individual for up to two years without a trial or charge. The Public Safety Act allows for the arrest and detention of people without a warrant, specific charges, and often for an unspecified period of time.

Kashmiri journalist Sajad Gul was arrested under the Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act [JKPSA], a day after a court granted him bail in connection with a police case that accused him of criminal conspiracy. Gul was working with an NGO The Kashmir Walla and was arrested by police for allegedly “spreading disinformation through fake tweets regarding the recent anti-terrorist operation”.

In an interview, many Indian retired generals exposed the “myth of normalcy” in the occupied Kashmir. They pointed out those talks with all stakeholders including Pakistan was the only way to restore peace in Kashmir.

The Hindu protesters in Jammu have been demanding a crackdown on the Kashmiri population in the Valley. Already the Indian security forces are killing countless Kashmiris, even minors, in the guise of fake encounters. The killing of pandits may be used as an excuse to carry out genocide of the Kashmiri population.

Amjed Jaaved
Amjed Jaaved
The writer is a freelance journalist, has served in the Pakistan government for 39 years and holds degrees in economics, business administration, and law. He can be reached at [email protected]


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Must Read

The New Face of War

Since the beginning of time, wars and conflicts have been an inextricable part of human history. As such, they have developed in lockstep with...

Epaper_23-06-04 LHR