Anti-Encroachment Drive: Another Step In Indian Draconian Measures – OpEd
By Sara Nazir
The Indian government’s actions in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu & Kashmir (IIOJK) once again proved their Hindutva mindset and their intentions towards the Muslim community. Indian government bluntly claimed the IIOJK as part of their territory but when it comes to democratic values, they always fail to provide the basic rights to Kashmiris people. Indian-led anti-encroachment operation in the valley is the latest addition to India’s draconian measures in IIOJK. India has been responsible for human rights violations in Kashmir since 1947.
Kashmir has been a point of contention between India and Pakistan following their separation in 1947. Article 370 of the Indian legislation offered the people of IIOJK a substantial degree of autonomy until August 2019, when it was repealed by the Indian government. Its autonomy includes the right to a separate constitution, flag, and laws apart from the rest of India. In reality, unfortunately, the Indian government seems to have been complicit in repressing the democratic and fundamental rights of the Kashmiri Muslims, as well as depriving their right to self-determination. Since India deliberately and unlawfully removed the special identity to Kashmir under Articles 370 and 35-A, Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) has faced tremendous repression and Israeli-style settler colonialism to make the demographic changes and genocide of Muslims.
Recently, the Indian government has started an anti-encroachment drive across Kashmir. The eviction operation has accelerated in 20 districts where revenue authorities, counter-insurgent troops, and bulldozers are still operating, harming Kashmiris’ livelihoods. Under the guise of an anti-encroachment operation on suspected “State land,” the UN-recognized disputed area is experiencing a new degree of governmental harassment aimed at disempowering Kashmiris and uprooting people from their homes.
On January 24, Many protests and rallies were organized in several parts of Srinagar against the property eviction effort undertaken by Indian authorities to accomplish demographic change. Protesters across the valley urged that the anti-Kashmir measure be reversed. The majority of people consider the move an element of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) corruption campaign since the Indian government seeks funds from the affluent and votes from the poor. The repeal of former state legislation further permits the Indian troops to capture the land anywhere they choose and grants the state broad authority to seize either property and lands for “commercial” purposes. People in Kashmir claim that the BJP dictatorship has begun seizing Kashmiris’ land and possessions in the guise of an anti-encroachment effort in Indian-occupied Jammu and Kashmir, which is simply another proof of the Modi government’s colonial-settler mentality in IIOJK.
In response to the current destruction of residential and commercial properties in Jammu and Kashmir’s Srinagar, Budgam, Anantnag, and Baramulla, Amnesty International India’s chairperson, Aakar Patel, stated:
“The continuing evictions look to be a continuation of the severe violations of human rights the territory of Jammu and Kashmir, the only Muslim majority territory of India, has traditionally faced. These evictions may equate to forced evictions, which are blatant human rights violations. Evictions should not make anybody homeless or susceptible to other human rights abuses.
Although the President of People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has convicted the BJP of transforming IIOJK like Afghanistan while using bulldozers to smash the residences of the poor and disadvantaged, former Chief Minister and vice president of National Conference Omar Abdullah has asked the government for using bulldozers only as a last option and to give individuals an opportunity to establish their claims to the territory they own.
It is common sense to acknowledge that “Every War Must End”, as Fred Charles Ikle titled his book, but Kashmir is the only region which continuously under war. Since 1947, the Indian government had placed millions of troops in the region to suppress the fundamental rights of the Kashmiri people. Indian troops in Kashmir have committed major human rights crimes in their attempts to quell the resistance, involving extrajudicial murders, rape, torture, and intentional strikes on healthcare personnel. Indian government troops started a violent crackdown on escalating violence by rebels in the valley’s mostly Muslim population. Its crackdown was characterized from the start by violence towards residents, along with the killing of unarmed protestors, civilian massacres, and targeted killings of captives.
The people of Kashmir have universally rejected the Indian narrative of normality, prosperity, and enhanced law and order being promoted by their Media cells. Kashmiris have rejected the oppression by the Indian government and armed forces. Protesters across the valley called for the International community to interfere in the Kashmir matter because this time, the Indian government with its fascist policies is taking homes from the innocent population that must be stop.
The author has done MS in Strategic Studies from Air University Islamabad and currently teaching as visiting faculty in International Islamic University Islamabad. She writes on South Asian security and strategic issues.