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India allocates land for a colony of settlers in Kashmir

On January 15th, Jammu and Kashmir’s Hindu-nationalist Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha stated that the Jammu and Kashmir administration has allocated land in Kashmir for the construction of Sainik Colonies (Army Colonies) to accommodate families of Indian occupying armed forces personnel. 

With the recent changes to provide “domicile” to Indians in Kashmir, India is systematically attempting to bring a drastic demographic threat to Kashmiris. With this change, the Indian population in Kashmir will exponentially increase which will make the right for self-determination even more difficult for Kashmiris.

The ruling BJP party has constantly advocated the formation of segregated Hindu colonies in Kashmir. These settlements are designed to have their own militarized infrastructure, such as additional troops, walls, checkpoints, military watchtowers, and their own economy and systems of governance. It is designed to be a system of legalized discrimination or segregation known to us as apartheid. Such segregated colonies already exist in Kashmir, heavily militarized and local Kashmiris are denied access to these spaces. 

According to scholar Zainab Ramahi, the Indian army already occupies over 54,000 acres of land, the Indian administration has also lifted a requirement set in place in 1971 under which Indian security forces had to obtain a special certificate in order to acquire land in Kashmir.

Since May 18, up to 400,000 people have been granted domicile certificates in Jammu and Kashmir. India has also amended several development acts to allow for permanent structures to be built on existing Indian armed forces encampments for troops and their families, as well as on areas desired by the Indian military, the aforementioned Sainik Colonies being another addition to it. 

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