India’s new law stokes fear of engineered demographic change in Kashmir

The decision by India’s Hindu nationalist government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to annul Kashmir’s long-held semi-autonomous powers have amplified fears of engineering a demographic change in India’s only Muslim-majority region.

On August 5, 2019, India’s Hindu nationalist government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi stripped disputed Kashmir’s semi-autonomous powers and downgraded it to a federally governed territory. 

In addition to cleaving Jammu & Kashmir into two federally controlled territories and splitting off the thinly populated, Buddhist-dominated region of Ladakh, for the first time, people from outside Kashmir were granted rights to buy land. 

Prior to the Modi administration scrapping the key Article 370, outsiders were not allowed to buy land or property in India-administered Kashmir. 

Since last year, India has brought in a slew of changes through new laws. 

They are often drafted by bureaucrats without any democratic bearings and much to the resentment and anger of the region’s people, many of whom want independence from India or unification with Pakistan.

As locals experience yet another curfew ahead of August 5, imposed by Indian authorities fearful of looming protests in the Muslim-majority region of seven million people, here’s a look at how things are swiftly changing on the ground


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