Srinagar: The top resistance leader in Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir on Monday urged international community and Pakistan to halt alleged demographic changes in the region.
In a statement, Syed Ali Geelani, who remains under house arrest in Srinagar, the capital of the region, asked Pakistan to take a “serious note” of possible changes in the region’s demography due to recent measures by India.
“The world must take note of the arbitrary actions by the Indian government in its colony [Kashmir] which is an internationally recognized dispute,” said Geelani, who heads the All Parties Hurriyat (Freedom) Conference.
“The only solution to this dispute is the right to self-determination. No power can take away this right from the people of Jammu and Kashmir,” Geelani asserted.
Early this month, an “extraordinary” notification by India said any Indian who has lived for 15 years in Jammu and Kashmir qualified to be its “domicile,” entailing the right to hold land and work in the region. Also eligible are Indian nationals who have passed their 10th or 12th-grade examinations after at least a seven-year stay in the territory.
Last year in August, India scrapped the semi-autonomous status of the disputed region and turned it into two centrally controlled union territories.
The new law has given rise to fears among Kashmiris that India would change the Muslim-majority status of the region to impact the result of a possible future referendum to decide its political future.
Geelani, 90, also cautioned locals against selling their property to non-Kashmiri Indians, warning government officials in the region authorized to issue domicile certificates of “dire consequences” and social boycott for “collaborating with the occupier.”