Kashmir News Weekly Roundup: 12/11-12/18


India plans to auction properties owned by Kashmiris to outsiders: 

The imposed Indian government in occupied Jammu and Kashmir has drafted the new Land Lease Law 2022, which calls for leaseholders of commercial buildings to turn over their holdings to the administration. The ominous chapter of Kashmiris being now openly othered by land policy may very well start with this. The laws governing leases are mostly uniform and straightforward everywhere. But in Kashmir, they are distinct and not without motives. 

A hotelier at the Gulmarg ski resort in North Kashmir informed us that the government had not renewed his lease despite his submission of all required paperwork and compliance with all instructions. “I was given permission to lease this site and spent about 11 crore rupees to construct a hotel here. They now want to replace it. Despite my 2015 application for a lease extension, the government has not renewed it. Currently, with the aid of the government, foreigners are surveying Gulmarg and choosing which land to bid for in the auction. They will deny us our rights and take over our properties.” 


India gives go-ahead to build settlement townships in Kashmir:

The administration has given the go-ahead for the development of 6,000 ‘transit accommodations’ for workers employed or expected to be employed in the valley’s various government of JK ministries.  Under the 2015 Prime Minister’s Development Package (PMDP), 2,639 government positions have been made available to Kashmiri pandits alone. Pandits from Kashmir have also received 2,639 government posts.

The building of 39 blocks containing 936 flats is being carried out in District Srinagar at an estimated cost of Rs 124 crore. Deputy Commissioner Srinagar, Mohammad Aijaz Asad demanded that an additional 20 Kanals of land be allocated beside the 93 Kanals of land already designated for the migrant transit accommodations at Zewan. The DC further ordered that the interested parties investigate the viability of another plot of property at Gasoo in the Tehsil North of the City.

News Updates:

India plans Israeli-inspired ‘database of all families’ in JK

In the disputed territory of J&K, India intends to build what it refers to as “a genuine database of all households” using as its model the Israeli surveillance system used in the Palestinian-occupied territories. According to sources, the regime in J&K intends to build a database with individual alpha-numeric codes for each household. It illustrates India’s intention to strengthen its hold and step up its monitoring in Kashmir.

Even the pro-India political parties in Kashmir have also criticized the idea and questioned the motives of the BJP-installed government. The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) enquired about the individuals the administration wished to identify using this information. 

Former Chief Minister of Kashmir Mehbooba Mufti said that the plan to create unique IDs for all families in Jammu and Kashmir is another “surveillance tactic to tighten the iron grip” on the lives of Kashmir residents. She alleged that the people of Kashmir are viewed with deep suspicion and the proposed plan is “emblematic of the widening trust deficit”, especially after 2019, the year Article 370 providing autonomy status to Jammu and Kashmir was abrogated. She said that creating a unique family ID’ for J&K residents is emblematic of the widening trust deficit especially post-2019, “Kashmiris are viewed with deep suspicion & this is another surveillance tactic to tighten the iron grip on their lives.”   

Properties belonging to JeI continue to be seized across Kashmir:

By using its agencies to seize more assets owned by Jamat-e-Islami (JeI) members, the Indian government is escalating its campaign of repression against the group in J&K. On the advice of the State Investigation Agency, the local authorities seized eleven of JeI’s properties on Saturday in the Kashmir Valley (SIA). 

The SIA described the properties in a statement, stating that there were five properties in the Ganderbal district, three properties attached in Baramulla, and two in Kupwara. According to a statement from SIA, 188 properties throughout JK have been identified and are being seized with additional action to be taken.

India has been targeting members of the JeI by pressing serious charges against them under PSA and UAPA since banning the organization. Indian state authorities including the NIA, SIA, CBI, and Indian army have also conducted raids on the homes of persons associated with the organization.

Indian forces kill two civilians in Rajouri 

Early on Friday morning, Indian army personnel opened fire and killed two people in front of the Alpha Gate of the army camp along the Ponch-Rajouri route. The two civilians, named Kamal Kumar and Surinder Kumar, who are both from the Rajouri district, were reportedly serving as porters for the army. 

Locals in the Rajouri area of J&K have been protesting aggressively since they believe the army is to blame for the deaths of two civilians and the injury of a third. The demonstrators, who included ex-servicemen, said that the army “shot dead” two porters and “deliberately” hurt another.

One of the demonstrators, a retired army captain, said the event occurred around 6:40 on Friday. “Three employees who had previously worked in the army canteen were scheduled to join the camp for work when they were shot at straight and without provocation. Two workers immediately passed away, and one is fighting for his or her life, according to the former army captain.

One more civilian was arrested under a fake label

Daily, the Indian military and police continue to detain many individuals using fictitious documents. Yawar Bashir, S/O Bashir Ahmad Dar, a resident of Arigam Pulwama who has been labeled a “militant associate,” was detained by police on Tuesday. In this respect, Police Station Pulwama has filed a case under FIR No. 358/2022 under harsh statutes. 

Hundreds of Kashmiris are currently detained on bogus charges in local and regional jails across India. Most of them lack the resources necessary to put up a powerful legal defense.

Resistance fighter’s house attached in Doda 

The J&K police have seized the property of a fighter connected to the Lashkar-e-Toiba organization in the Thathri neighborhood of Doda. According to the authorities, Abdul Rashid, a top leader of the LeT who is now operating out of Pakistan, owns the attached property. 

In addition to conducting raids and making arrests, the Indian army and police have been taking or seizing the property of everyone connected to the Kashmiri resistance movement. The SIA found around 180 properties early this week in J&K that belonged to members of JeI and confiscated them.

Police file fake charges against 8 civilians 

In a case involving the discovery of an IED in the Armulla Lassipora neighborhood of Pulwama district, Jammu and Kashmir police on Tuesday filed a chargesheet against 8 civilians. The police’s accusations are disputed by the relatives of the citizens, who claim that their loved ones are being held captive by leveling false accusations. 

According to a statement from the police, Pulwama Police presented a chargesheet in FIR No. 65/2022 U/S 4/5 Explosive Substance Act, 18, 20, 23, and 39 UA(P) Act of Police Station Litter against 8 accused people before the Special Designated Court under the NIA Act in Srinagar. 

In Kashmir, police and the Indian military have regularly conducted raids and arrests. People from Kashmir are being charged with serious offenses under the PSA and UAPA for their involvement and support of the independence movement.