Kashmir and the rise of settler colonialism

The political and economic exploitation of militarily occupied J & K.

Every year on 15 May, Palestinians remember 750,000 of their people who were thrown out of their homeland within two years (1947 – 49). The day is remembered as Nakba or ‘catastrophe’ by millions of stateless Palestinians living across the world.

When the administration in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir (J & K) issued new rules regarding domicile certificates on 18 May 2020, Kashmiri residents fearing demographic change began to draw comparisons with Palestine. The new domicile rule provides that any tehsildar (revenue official) who fails to issue a domicile certificate within the stipulated time of 15 days can have INR 50,000 deducted from their salary. Coercive dictates – wherein a government official is threatened with a fine for non-issuance of a document – are unheard of in India.

Legislation like the Armed Forces (Jammu and Kashmir) Special Powers Act (AFSPA) and the Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act (PSA) are antithetical to the principles of natural justice and equality and characteristic of Indian rule in the region.

India also scrapped a 37-year-old law that permitted the return of J & K residents who fled to Pakistan during 1947 to 1954, through the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act (2019). As a result, Jammu residents who fled to Pakistan in 1947 no longer have a right to return to their homeland. However, Indians who have lived in the region for 15 years or studied there for seven years and appeared in examinations for grade 10 or 12 from an educational institution located in the union territory of J & K can now apply for state domicile and settle in the region with ease. Twenty-five thousand domicile certificates have already been issued up to June 2020. Laws and policies such as these provide the necessary support structure to subjugate the population of J & K.

The occupation of Kashmir


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