India Loss of autonomy in Jammu and Kashmir threatens minorities’...

Loss of autonomy in Jammu and Kashmir threatens minorities’ rights: UN experts

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The United Nation human rights experts have expressed concerns over New Delhi’s decision of ending Jammu and Kashmir’s limited autonomy and enacting new laws in the erstwhile state.

“New laws could curtail the previous level of political participation of Muslim and other minorities in the country, as well as potentially discriminate against them in important matters including employment and land ownership,” UN said in a statement.

Fernand de Varennes, Special Rapporteur on minority issues, and Ahmed Shaheed, Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, in a statement said that “the loss of autonomy and the imposition of direct rule by the Government in New Delhi suggests the people of Jammu and Kashmir no longer have their own government and have lost power to legislate or amend laws in the region to ensure the protection of their rights as minorities.”


“The number of successful applicants for domicile certificates that appear to be from outside Jammu and Kashmir raises concerns that demographic change on a linguistic, religious, and ethnic basis is already underway,” said the experts. 

According to the statement, the new legislation overrides previous laws which granted the Kashmiri Muslim, Dogri, Gojri, Pahari, Sikh, Ladhaki, and other established minorities rights to buy property, own land, and access certain state jobs.

“These legislative changes may have the potential to pave the way for people from outside the former state of Jammu and Kashmir to settle in the region, alter the demographics of the region and undermine the minorities’ ability to exercise effectively their human rights,” the experts said.

Meanwhile, India has rejected the comments of the two UN Special Rapporteurs, which criticized its policies towards Jammu and Kashmir, asserting that the region is an “integral and inalienable” part of the country.

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