UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — India repealed a 37-year-old law in Jammu and Kashmir that was under its control from the disputed territory between New Delhi and Islamabad, allowing the return of its immigrant population who had fled to Pakistan between 1947 and 1954.
Since the abolition of the special status granted to the Indian part of the Territory under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution on August 5, the government has announced the repeal of 152 other laws, including the law “granting permission to resettle” state immigrants.
this law adopted by the state legislature in 1982, although it was never implemented, was giving a glimmer of hope to Kashmiri migrants to return and resettle in their homes.
For 37 years, many of the divided families who live in the Pakistani-administered part of the Territory and in Pakistan have been waiting for this law to take effect in order to return to their homes.
But after the law was repealed, dreams and hopes were dashed, says Khaled Waseem, a journalist based in Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir state.
Wasim said in an interview with Anatolia, that his uncle Khaled Iqbal, who is residing in Pakistan, was waiting for the activation of this law to return to Srinagar, until he died recently as a migrant.
Wasim added, “Closing the doors to thousands of Muslim families, while granting citizenship in Kashmir to Hindus who fled under similar circumstances, clearly indicates that repealing this law has ideological and religious motives.”
He continued: “Repealing the law also conforms to their sinister (New Delhi government) policy of undermining the character of Jammu and Kashmir with a Muslim majority. History testifies to the fact that Jammu had a large Muslim population expelled by criminal gangs.”
One of the bloodiest sectarian disturbances in the state of Jammu in the state mentioned shortly after India and Pakistan were granted independence in 1947.
British historian Alex von Tunzelmann noted in his records that the Muslim population of their families in Jammu, who numbered about half a million, was displaced.
Shortly after the Legislative Council adopted the state in 1982, then-president of India, Giani Zail Singh, referred him to the Supreme Court for his opinion, but it prevented its activation.
In 2001, the country’s highest court declined to give its opinion.
When the law was about to be implemented, Harsh Dev Singh, a politician residing in Jammu, filed an appeal requesting the law be repealed. The Supreme Court suspended its implementation in February 2002, until the final ruling.
Under the law, victims of religious violence could recover their property, but it is currently under government control, under the Displaced Persons’ Law.
“Some of this property is for Hindu refugees who have settled in Jammu. Restoring this property will create law and order problems,” Dave Singh said in the appeal.
On December 13, 2018, months before Kashmir was stripped of its autonomy, the Supreme Court asked the Jammu and Kashmir government to provide details of the number of immigrants or their descendants, who applied for a permit to return to Kashmir.
A month later, the state replied that until now no one had applied to return, as the law had never been notified, which was a necessary step before seeking applications.
For his part, Abdul Rahim Rather, a former lawmaker in the Parliament in 1980, said that the legal battle is now pointless, because the law is no longer in the law record.
According to the 1952 Delhi Agreement adopted by then Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and the leader of Jammu and Kashmir Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah, Kashmiri citizens, who were forced to migrate to Pakistan in the wake of the unrest, have the right to request rights and privileges to return to their homes.
On August 5 last year, the Indian government decided to cancel the special situation in the region of “Jammu and Kashmir” and divide it into two regions, and imposed restrictions on roaming and communication in them and blocked Internet service.
The name “Jammu and Kashmir” is called the Indian-controlled part of Kashmir, and it has resistance groups that have been struggling since 1989 against what they consider an “Indian occupation” of their territories.
Its inhabitants are demanding independence from India, joining Pakistan, since the independence of the two countries from Britain in 1947, and the division of Islamabad and New Delhi, the Muslim-majority region, and 3 wars erupted between them in 1948, 1965 and 1971, killing nearly 70,000 people from both sides.
Islamabad calls the part of the region “Azad Kashmir”, while New Delhi calls the part of the region it controls “Jammu and Kashmir”.
This article is written and prepared by our foreign editors writing for OBSERVATORY NEWS from different countries around the world – material edited and published by OBSERVATORY staff in our newsroom.
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