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August 5, 2020

India’s residency law in Kashmir amplifies demographic fears

National

August 5, 2020

SRINAGAR: For almost a century, no outsider was allowed to buy land and property in Indian-held Kashmir, foreign media reported.

That changed August 5 last year when India’s Hindu nationalist government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi stripped the Himalayan state’s semi-autonomous powers and downgraded it to a federally governed territory. It also annulled the long-held hereditary special rights its natives had over the disputed region’s land ownership and jobs.

Since then, India has brought in a slew of changes through new laws. They are often drafted by bureaucrats without any democratic bearings and much to the resentment and anger of the region’s people, many of whom want independence from India or unification with PakistanA year later, things are swiftly changing on the ground.

Under a new law, authorities have begun issuing “domicile certificates” to Indians and non-residents, entitling them to residency rights and government jobs.