Thursday, June 17, 2021

Pakistan Raises ‘Serious Concerns’ As India Looks At Another Big ‘Shake-Up’ Of Kashmir

India has dispatched additional paramilitary forces to the Kashmir valley amid growing speculation about granting separate statehood to Jammu.

Pakistan has expressed concern terming this as the Modi government’s attempts to trigger “administrative and demographic changes” in India-administered Kashmir, Dawn reported.

On June 7, Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant-Governor Manoj Sinha and Union Home Minister Amit Shah met in New Delhi to review security in the federally administered Union Territory. Home Secretary A.K. Bhalla also attended the meeting. This fuelled speculation that New Delhi is planning to grant separate statehood to Jammu.

In August 2019, the Modi government had abrogated Article 370 of the Indian Constitution that gave special power to the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir. The state was then bifurcated into two UTs — J&K and Ladakh.

File:Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi at an informal meeting of heads of state and government of the BRICS countries, Hamburg 2017.jpg - Wikimedia Commons
File Image: Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi at an informal meeting of heads of state and government of the BRICS countries, Hamburg 2017 – Wikimedia Commons

After Sinha’s meeting with Shah, there was widespread speculation that something big would be announced for J&K, most likely separate statehood for the Jammu region.

Ankur Sharma, chairman of Ikkjut Jammu, was quoted as saying by The New Indian Express that the federal government should give statehood to Jammu and that Kashmir should be bifurcated into two UTs with one specially carved out for the Hindu Kashmiri Pandits.

He alleged that the Jammu region has been discriminated against by the Valley-based leadership.

Fearing perceived threats, the central government decided to rush more paramilitary troops to the Valley, one of the two heavily militarized zones in the country, with the other being Northeast.

For more than a year since August 2019, the Kashmir region had seen unprecedented security deployment. Curfew was imposed and several other restrictions were in place under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code, thwarting Cable TV and Internet services.

Meanwhile, Pakistan has expressed serious concern over reports of New Delhi’s purported plans to trigger new “administrative and demographic changes” in India-administered Kashmir.

Commenting on reports of possible “further division, bifurcation and demographic changes” in J&K, Foreign Office spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri said, “No new instrument of occupation shall have any legal effect.”

Reacting to such reports, the FO statement alleged that India’s unilateral and illegal actions in Kashmir violated international law and the relevant resolutions of the United Nations Security Council.

Written by Kanika Sachdeva

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