Kashmiris Protest “Obnoxious, Insulting” Domicile Law

  • If an Indian citizen has been living in Indian-administered Kashmir for fifteen years, he will be entitled to the domicile there.
  • The Indian government has been making controversial decisions regarding Kashmir for some time now.
  • Some Kashmiri critics condemn the silence of the international community on the issue.

Kashmiris and those in solidarity with the residents of the Indian-administered region have called a new domicile policy by New Delhi “obnoxious” and “insulting.” Critics have also accused India of using oppressive measures against Kashmiris. New Delhi has recently announced new rules regarding Indian citizens living in Kashmir.

The Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) is a political organisation active in both Pakistan-administered and Indian-administered Kashmir. After 1994, the JKLF in Kashmir Valley, under the leadership of Yasin Malik, declared an ‘indefinite ceasefire’ and reportedly disbanded its military wing.

That is, if an Indian citizen has been living in Indian-administered Kashmir for fifteen years, he will be entitled to the domicile there. In addition, a student who has studied in this disputed area for seven years, and has taken the tenth or twelfth-grade examinations, can also apply for this domicile.

The Indian government has been making controversial decisions regarding Kashmir for some time now. Last year, New Delhi abolished the special constitutional status of Kashmir, India’s only Muslim-majority area. There is heavy police personnel while residents of different areas have been protesting. Now, these new laws have created a great deal of anxiety, especially in Kashmir and among those living in Pakistan-administered Kashmir.

Dr. Tauqeer Gilani, who heads the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front in Pakistan-administered Kashmir, says that India is using the same tactics that Israel used against the Palestinians. The purpose of this policy is very clear. “Kashmiris should be transformed into a minority with a majority. We will not be silent on this issue and will raise this injustice on every platform.”

However, some Kashmiri leaders say that no matter how many laws India may make, it cannot be implemented in practice. The former Prime Minister of Pakistan-administered Kashmir, Sardar Raqiq Ahmed, while commenting on the issue, told reporters:

“New Delhi fears that the Kashmir issue has to be resolved today or tomorrow. Therefore, under the domicile policy, India wants to change the proportion of Kashmir population so that whenever Kashmir problem is resolved, India calls it controversial, saying that a large part of Kashmir’s population lives in India.”

Kashmir is the northernmost geographical region of the Indian subcontinent. Today, it denotes a larger area that includes the Indian-administered territory of Jammu and Kashmir (which includes the divisions Jammu, Kashmir Valley, and Ladakh), the Pakistani-administered territories of Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan, and Chinese-administered territories of Aksai Chin and the Trans-Karakoram Tract.

He further said that Indian military officers and soldiers cannot bring their families to Kashmir:

“So the question is how can an ordinary Indian take the risk of his life and bring his family to Kashmir or spend money there. In practice, it is impossible. However, the decision is quite clear that India wants to convert Kashmiris to a minority, which no Kashmiris will accept, irrespective of any school of thought or religion.”

Some Kashmiri critics condemn the silence of the international community on the issue. Zafar Khan, a Kashmiri scholar associated with Britain’s Metropolitan University, says that the international community is silent because of its economic interests. There are many people in Congress who are supporting Kashmiris with this atrocity and one day the international community will realize that the status quo in Kashmir cannot be ruled out.

He also said that Pakistan was not doing anything special to help them. “Islamabad is silent on the issue. Pakistani rulers do not want to do anything. However, Kashmir is against the Domicile law or against the state’s special status.” The law, they will oppose is every law that is against Kashmiris.

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Doris Mkwaya

I am a journalist, with more than 12 years of experience as a reporter, author, editor, and journalism lecturer." I've worked as a reporter, editor and journalism lecturer, and am very enthusiastic about bringing what I've learned to this site.  

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