NEW DELHI: Amnesty International has cautioned India that its decision to change the status of the disputed region of Jammu and Kashmir would pave way for an increase in violence.
The constitutional change announced by the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday withdraws special rights conferred on residents of India-held Kashmir, including a provision that prevents outsiders from buying property there. It also means that college places and state government jobs may no longer be reserved for permanent residents.
In a statement, Amnesty International India said the move could “cause unrest and widen scale [of] protests” in the disputed region.
“What J&K (Jammu and Kashmir) has been witnessing over the last few days — the additional deployment of thousands of security forces, a blanket blockade of telephone and internet services, restrictions on peaceful assembly — has already pushed the people of J&K to the edge,” said Aakar Patel, head of AI India.
Mehbooba Mufti laments that decision of J&K leadership to reject two-nation theory in 1947 & align with India has backfired
In some parts of India-held Kashmir, authorities invoked a law that allows them to ban gatherings of more than four people, and some local political leaders were put under house arrest.
“Already under house arrest and not allowed to have visitors either. Not sure how long I’ll be able to communicate,” said Mehbooba Mufti, IHK’s most recent chief minister.
In a tweet on Monday, she said: “Today marks the darkest day in Indian democracy. Decision of J&K leadership to reject 2 nation theory in 1947 & align with India has backfired. Unilateral decision of GOI [Government of India] to scrap Article 370 is illegal & unconstitutional which will make India an occupational force in J&K.”
Kashmir is claimed by both India and Pakistan and they have already fought two wars over the territory since their independence in 1947.
India’s decision is likely to increase tensions with Pakistan, which demands that India give the Kashmiri people the right to self-determination under the UN resolutions.
The US Embassy in New Delhi issued a security alert, urging Americans to leave the Kashmir region immediately, citing the “potential for terrorist incidents, as well as violent public unrest”.
Published in Dawn, August 6th, 2019