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Mr. Shah Faesal, Stop this charade. These are the real 'marginalised' communities in Jammu and Kashmir. You never speak up for them.

Author: Nidhi Bahuguna
Publication: Myind.net
Date: January 14, 2019
URL:      https://www.myind.net/Home/viewArticle/mr-shah-faesal-stop-this-charade-these-are-the-real-marginalised-communities-in-jammu-and-kashmir-you-never-speak-up-for-them

The Ex IAS Officer Shah Faesal of ‘India is rapistan’ comment fame is in news at the moment. Rather, he is dominating headlines and giving Interviews. I had objections to his tweets defaming India when he was a serving officer on study leave in United States. But since he has resigned he has every right to air his views. Shah Faesal released a statement claiming he resigned to protest ‘unabated killings in Kashmir’ (of terrorists?) and ‘the marginalisation and invisiblization of around 200 million Indian Muslims at the hands of Hindutva forces reducing them to second class citizens’. It is the latter - the fake propaganda that I wish to demolish, given that Muslims are living freely, exercising their constitutional rights as any other Indian anywhere.  

The real ‘invisiblized marginalized’ communities are living as second class citizens right there in the home state of Shah Faesal. It is inconceivable that as an administrative officer he is unaware of these communities, but as others, he is playing into the narrative of ‘Victimised Kashmiri Muslims’ of the valley. Unfortunately the Narrative of the last 7 decades has been captured by a pro Pakistan narrative that seeks to focus national and international attention on only the Kashmiri Muslim population in the Valley while marginalising all others.

Let me start with the Jammu region.

According to 2011, the population of Jammu region is 60 lakhs, with about 15 lakhs being Refugees or displaced persons- and these are not Rohingyas but refugees from west Pakistan, Chaambh, Border Areas, Kashmiri Pandits and POJK refugees to name a few .

West Pakistan refugees

During partition many Hindu families, mostly Dalits migrated to Jammu from neighbouring Mirpur, Kotli, Muzaffarabad areas as these were Hindu Majority areas. Sheikh Abdullah advised them to settle down in border areas and live in properties of those who had migrated to Pakistan. The Refugees who went further outside J&K, prospered, but West Pakistan refugees lead an unimaginably distressing life. The West Pakistani refugees are Indian citizens, but have not received PRC which can make them the citizens of the Jammu Kashmir state. They can vote in LS elections but not local or state ones.

They are not entitled to any state government scheme, jobs, scholarship, and admission to any state government school or college. They can till the farm land of evacuee property, but cannot buy any property or repair it. They have been living in Jammu Kashmir since 1947 in abject poverty with no possibility of improving their lot— these are the ‘marginalised and invisibilised’ second class citizens, who cannot even be recruited in Central jobs as state government does not issue them residency certificates. Central government is issuing domicile certificates but that is being fiercely opposed by those in valley. There is no available Data except some maintained by MPs of the area.

Chaambh Valley Refugees

 After 1965 war and in 1972 after their land was given to Pakistan under Shimla accord- residents of these areas migrated to Jammu. About 10,000 families from 47 villages migrated in 3 tranches. Since then they have not been rehabilitated . They are citizens of India but not of Jammu Kashmir .The problems faced are the same as by West Pakistan refugees. These are the real Marginalised and invisibilised communities living in the blind spot of the nation and media in spite of a parliamentary report on their status.

POJK refugees of 1947

According to Parliamentary Report 183, post Aggression by Pakistan Army Hindus migrated from Mirpur, Kotli, and Muzaffarabad Areas which are now designated as POJK. About 26,319 families came to Jammu and are registered. Thousands are unregistered as they fled leaving all documents behind. They cannot avail compensation for properties left behind as Evacuee property Act 1950, and Displaced person act 1954 does not apply in Jammu Kashmir. 24 seats are earmarked for areas in POJK, but these marginalised people have never had elections to those as they demand.

Valmiki’s of Jammu and Kashmir 

While in India every political party, activist, NGO waxes eloquently on Valmiki suppression and supports every possible effort to rehabilitate and empower them (rightly so), there is a studied silence on the plight of Valmikis numbering about 80,000 in Jammu and Kashmir. Valmikis were bought in from Punjab by JK chief minister Ghulam Bakshi in 1957 after a strike by sweepers. Valmikis were promised houses and PRC. But what they got was a limited PRC- the only occupation they can avail is of sweepers. Their children can only become sweepers. They cannot aspire to get seats in government colleges. Recently a heart-breaking case of a Valmiki girl came to fore via Social media, she had cleared State MBBS exam but was refused admission as her PRC states that she can only do sweeper’s job . These are real life living examples of marginalisation and Invisibilization. These are the real second class citizens.

People of Ladakh 

Ladakh has always been marginalised and invisibilised by Kashmiri sub regional political parties. Forced to be a part of JK due to UN resolution the citizens of Ladakh live a life of second class citizens. The Shia population of Kargil has never supported any bandh call given by valley politicians. Rather they are trying to protect their cultural Heritage and language.

People of Ladakh faced untold hardships when the Pakistani army invaded in guise of Kabalis. Houses were looted, women raped and men killed, but somehow this narrative was suppressed. Buddhist Gompas were Targeted and damaged. The compensation released by Centre never reached the people. The first budget of Jammu Kashmir did not have any allocation for Ladakh.

It took decades for Ladakhis tribes to get ST status, starting from 1968, it was only in 1989 that ST status for given. In spite of a large ST population there are no reserved ST seats in LS for Ladakh.

This is called invisiblization and marginalisation of communities, where their culture, language, identity is under threat.

Shias in the valley

In Guerez valley, Shias speaking Shina language reside, they have a distinct culture which is being targeted. Elsewhere Shias in the valley feel they are living in a Sunni state. They have no say in policy making, bureaucracy and their shrines are under threat. For years they could not take out Ashura processions, after court allowed the Shias find it an uphill task as the administration does not support them. Shias in the valley are marginalised and invisibilised.

Kashmiri Pandits of the valley

Perhaps Shah Faesal has forgotten the 7 exodus of Kashmiri Hindus, the 1986, when Chief Minister Gul Padsha supervised rioting against Kashmiri Pandits. Kashmiri Pandits faced the brunt of the land to tiller act 1950, were denied seats in state colleges and in Government service. Finally from 1989 onwards they were targeted, and forced into exile on the cold night of 19 January 1990, under threat of Convert, leave or die! This was invisiblization, marginalisation and making a community second class citizens, cursed to a life in exile.

These are instances of Marginalisation and invisiblization in Jammu Kashmir which remains with India. Now I will take up issue of Marginalisation and invisiblization of citizens of POJK

Gilgit Baltistan

This area has been a national and international blind spot. The citizens of GB are mainly Shias, who speak shina language. Till 1974 Pakistan administered this area under colonial laws that mandated collective punishment to the whole village for crime of one. In 1974, Zia ul Haq removed the State subject rule of Maharaja Hari Singh and facilitated large scale migration of Sunni. He started the project of Wahhabism endangering the cultural identity of ethnic residents. For one full year, schools in GB remained shut in 2004-2005 protesting the ‘Islamiyat’ by Pakistan. The citizens of GB are ruled by Pakistan, have no say in administration, and have no representation in Pakistan assembly. Educational and employment opportunities are severely restricted. The Census of 2011 established the veracity of demographic invasion of the region, with population increasing 119% in Diamer district, and 76.6% in Gilgit, between 1998 and 2011. G-B’s highest court, the Supreme Appellate Court, does not have powers to act under suo moto jurisdiction unlike the Supreme Court of Pakistan. The 2009 GB Order does not guarantee dignity of a person and residents of G-B are not guaranteed the right to preserve their language, script or culture. There has been “rampant misuse” of Pakistan’s Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997 (ATA) by G-B authorities particularly against young activists.

G-B authorities have forcibly evicted locals in Maqpoon Das area and allocated the same land for CPEC. The displaced have not received compensation or relocation from the authorities.

These are real invisibilised and marginalised communities who live like second class citizens

‘Azad Kashmir’

In ‘Azad Kashmir’ (Pakistan Occupied Kashmir), enforced disappearances, establishing military camps next to civilian areas, diverting water from rivers are causing great hardships to people. The original citizens have no say in their administration as they are ruled by AJK council situated in Islamabad under the Pakistani PM. It is criminal offence to speak against accession to Pakistan in AJK and media houses have to give an undertaking that they will not criticise Pakistan before they can establish a media outlet.

This was a humble attempt to bring forth the real invisibilised communities into limelight.

Hope this demolishes the fake narrative being set by Pakistan proxies in Indian and international media, aided by sub regional parties like PDP, NC, national parties like Congress and CPM, sundry activists and the likes of Shah Faesal.
 
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