Srinagar, India, Jul 17 (EFE).- The government of India has dismissed more than 50 public employees in recent years for their alleged involvement in separatist activities in Indian-administered Kashmir, fueling criticism in this disputed region.
“The count (in over two years) has climbed to 52 officers who have been sacked for their alleged secessionist mindset or links with terror outfits,” an official, who asked not to be named as he is not authorized to speak to the media, told EFE.
The most recent dismissals were confirmed on Monday and included an employee of the University of Kashmir, identified as Faheem Aslam; police officer Arshid Thoker; and tax official Murawath Hussain, he said.
Under Article 311 of the Indian Constitution, the government can dismiss any employee suspected of participating in anti-national activities that could endanger the peace and security of the nation.
“Faheem, Arshid and Murawath used their respective positions to provide logistic support for anti-national elements like terrorists and acted as propagandists for secessionists,” a police officer, who asked not to be named, told EFE.
These dismissals have been decried by critics who claim that “journalists, independent voices and distinguished professionals are being attacked” by the government, a professor at the University of Kashmir told EFE on condition of anonymity.
Allegations of repression and censorship against Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government have been on the rise since August 2019, just after New Delhi decided to abolish Kashmir’s semi-autonomous status and imposed strict restrictions against possible protests.
Located at the foothills of the Himalayas, Kashmir is one of the few Indian regions with a Muslim majority.
Both India and Pakistan claim total sovereignty over Kashmir – divided between them – since the independence of the subcontinent from the British Empire in 1947 and its subsequent partition into two on religious lines. EFE