Conflicts & War

Outrage in Indian Kashmir over the eviction of locals

Srinagar, India, Jan 19 (EFE).- The government’s purported eviction of natives from the so-called state-owned land in Indian Kashmir has sparked protests and raised fears that the authorities aim to settle outsiders to alter the demography of the Muslim-majority region.

The eviction of citizens who had owned these lands for decades after a court in 2020 ordered the cancellation of the allotment of land.

The then government of the erstwhile state had allotted land to locals in 2001 under legislation called the Roshni Act.

“I have been running a hotel at a tourist place for years, now I am being told to vacate the land which of course will end my livelihood,” Ahmad, who requested to disclose only his middle name, told EFE on Thursday.

Like Ahmad, many other local citizens have received notices from the authorities asking them to leave what they consider to be their home before Jan.31.

An estimated 30,000 hectares were transferred, regularized, and designated by law in 2001 to the squatters, an official told EFE on the condition of anonymity.

Hundreds of activists of several political parties have hit the streets against the move, especially in the southern Jammu region, where the federally appointed governor stays in winter.

People fear that the administration of the federally-governed region wants to settle non-local Hindus to change the demographic favor of the disputed Himalayan territory.

The region has been without an elected government for more than four years.

After New Delhi ended the region’s semi-autonomous status in August 2019, the authorities imposed months-long harsh restrictions and a complete blackout on communications in Kashmir.

The Indian government justified these measures to boost development, now allowing companies or individuals from outside the region to settle.

“And now their fears (of losing the land) are coming true,” leftist leader Yousuf Tarigami told EFE.

India and Pakistan have disputed the region’s sovereignty since the partition of the subcontinent in 1947.

The two neighbors have fought two of their three major wars and engaged in several minor military confrontations over Kashmir. EFE


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