Posted on August 7, 2020

Here’s Why Kashmiris Fear That a Demographic Change Is Imminent in the Region

Raksha Kumar, Vice, August 5, 2020


The state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) is surrounded by three nuclear-armed hostile nations – India, China and Pakistan. {snip}

On August 5, 2019, the federal government of India—led by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of Prime Minister Narendra Modi—did away with the quasi-autonomy accorded to it by Article 370 of the Indian Constitution. India’s only Muslim-majority state was brought under New Delhi’s direct control.

The Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh or the RSS, whose formation was influenced by European fascist parties, is the ideological parent of the BJP. In many ways, New Delhi’s “takeover” of J&K in August last year is a culmination of the RSS’ decades-long dream of making India a Hindu Rashtra (nation).

According to The Brotherhood in Saffron, a book on the RSS by scholars Walter Andersen and Shridhar D. Damle, the RSS was opposed to the semi-autonomous status of J&K from the start and doing away with Article 370 was on the BJP’s election manifesto ahead of both 2014 and 2019 general elections. In both elections, India elected the BJP to power with absolute majorities.

It was not enough to revoke Article 370. India had to enact laws which would change the Muslim majority status of the state, according to Shrimoyee Nandini Ghosh, Assistant Professor at Azim Premji University, who works on Kashmir. {snip}


In March 2020 {snip} the Government of India brought in a new domicile law. The Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Adaptation of State Laws) Order, 2020—introduced on the night of March 31—defined who can own land and apply for government jobs in J&K.

Under normal circumstances, such a law which affects close to 10 million people would have been debated by people’s representatives. Except, in this case, not just were there no senior political leaders—who were either in jails or in house arrest—but the population was focused on battling the virus. The press was gagged by a New Media Policy, which threatened to incarcerate journalists for publishing “anti-national material.”

“This is the beginning of demographic change and, therefore, the domicile law makes India the Israel of South Asia,” said a Srinagar-based Kashmiri scholar who requested anonymity.

According to the Jammu and Kashmir Constitution of 1956, a Permanent Resident (PR) was anyone who was a state subject of J&K in 1954 under the monarchy; their descendants were also considered permanent residents. Anyone who lived in the state for 10 years before 1954 or owned land was granted the PR status.

According to the March 2020 rules, anyone who has lived in J&K for 15 years or studied there for seven years or written class 10 or 12 board examinations in a school there, are eligible for PR. The first person to acquire a domicile certificate was a senior Indian diplomat from the eastern Indian state of Bihar, who was posted in J&K. “According to the 2011 census data, 1.5 million non-Kashmiris are eligible under the 15-year category. This number is 13-14 percent of the total population of Kashmir,” said Mirza Saaib Beg, a Kashmiri lawyer.

The children of Indian government officials, All India Service officers, other public sector employees and researchers who had spent more than 10 years in Jammu and Kashmir are also eligible to apply for domicile.

Beg noted that India’s population is 100 times that of Kashmir’s. Therefore, he said, engineering a demographic change will not be hard for the Indian government.


In November 2019, Sandeep Chakravorty, India’s consul general in New York, called for the adoption of the “Israel Model” in J&K. “If the Israeli people can do it, we can also do it,” he said in the video and quickly followed it up by stating that the current Indian administration is “determined” to do so. {snip}