New domicile law worse than coronavirus: IOK

Friday – April 3, 2020
SRINAGAR (India): In Indian occupied Kashmir (IOK), Hurriyat leaders and organisations including All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) chairman Syed Ali Gilani and Hurriyat forum led by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq strongly condemned the new domicile law introduced by India in IOK to change the demographic composition of the occupied territory, on Thursday.

According to Kashmir Media Service (KMS), the new law allows Indian citizens to permanently settle in occupied Kashmir after fulfilling nominal requirements.

APHC chairman Gilani in a statement issued in Srinagar, Thursday, said that at a time when the spread of coronavirus has reached catastrophic proportions and governments across the world are focusing all their attention to save the lives of their citizens, India is unabashedly using the situation to fulfil its political agenda in IOK.

The Hurriyat forum led by Farooq said that the process to change the demographic character of occupied Kashmir started in August 2019, is being systematically carried forward and the recent domicile order was part of that plan.

Other leaders and organisations including Bilal Ahmed Sidiqui, Ghulam Muhammad Khan Sopori, Yasmeen Raja, Abdul Hameed Butt, Khawaja Firdous, Javed Mir, Tehreek-e-Wahdat-e-Islami (TWI), Pairwan-e-Wilayet (PW), Ummat-e-Islami (UI), Islami Tanzeem-e-Azadi (ITA), various Sikh bodies, Syed Abdullah Gilani, Syed Faiz Naqshbandi, Muhammad Farooq Rehmani, Abdul Majeed Mir, Altaf Ahmed Butt, Shamim Shawl and Tehreek-e-Istaqlal (TI) in their statements said the move is aimed at changing the demography of the occupied territory.

They termed the new domicile law as a bigger adversity for the Kashmiris than coronavirus.

However, the leaders maintained that the people of IOK will strongly resist the move.

Experts on Kashmir say that with the new domicile laws, India is imposing a “settler-colonial project” in occupied Kashmir mirroring Israel’s occupation of Palestinian lands.

Najeeb Mubarki, a Kashmir-based journalist, said that the Indian State functionaries themselves had spoken of this well-thought-out Israeli-style solution for occupied Kashmir.

Noted human rights activist Khurram Parvez said, by virtue of India’s domicile law, outsiders are also going to be the claimants of already existing jobs.

Parvez Imroz said the law will lead to settlements in the occupied territory.

A Palestinian affairs expert and director of the Istanbul-based Centre for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA), Sami Al-Arian, in an interview termed the new domicile law as a blatant attempt to colonise occupied Kashmir.

Hafsa Kanjwal, a historian who teaches at Pennsylvania’s Lafayette College, said the law lends itself to “settler colonialism in Kashmir”.

Meanwhile, Indian troops continued cordon and search operations (CASOs) in several areas amid strict lockdown in the occupied territory, causing a sense of insecurity and fear among the residents.

Police also arrested dozens of people including shopkeepers. Unknown gunmen shot dead two persons in Nandimarg area of Kulgam district.

As of Thursday, the number of COVID-19 (coronavirus) positive cases has risen to 84 in the entire occupied Kashmir. Out of the total cases, 53 are from the Kashmir Valley, 17 from Jammu division and 14 from Ladakh region.