Kashmir fears end of special rights as India deploys more troops
New Delhi pushes at least 10,000 paramilitary troops – set to rise to 20,000 – to India-administered Kashmir sparking fears India may set aside a constitutional provision, Article 35A, allowing Indians to buy land in the Muslim-majority region.
Tensions in India-administered Kashmir rose on Sunday over the weekend deployment of at least 10,000 paramilitary troops –– set to rise to 20,000 –– to the disputed region despite authorities’ assertions the move was routine.
India maintains a deployment of 500,000 heavily armed troops in the tiny Himalayan region, which has been divided between the South Asian nation and Pakistan since their split in 1947.
The region has seen a resurgence of hostilities in recent years, while locals are fearful about the loss of special privileges after India’s Supreme Court last year began hearing a case challenging a constitutional provision that bars Indians from buying properties in the Muslim-majority region.
Officials said the movement of troops was to relieve exhausted personnel deployed since local civic polls last year and now monitoring an annual Hindu pilgrimage.
“Troops have been working constantly for seven months. Some have to go on leave and some for training outside,” Director General of Police Dilbagh Singh told AFP news agency.
“We have requisitioned for 200 companies (20,000 troops), more might arrive.”