Kashmiri Muslims sidelined from vital posts since Aug 5 move: Report » Kashmir Media Service

Srinagar, July 31 (KMS): In occupied Kashmir, after abrogating the special status of Kashmir, the RSS-backed Narendra Modi-led fascist Indian government has sidelined the Kashmiri Muslims from important posts and replaced them with Indian Hindus to further its Hindutva agenda in the territory.

The development came to fore on April 2, when a photograph from an official meeting of the so-called Jammu and Kashmir administration created a buzz on social media in the Kashmir Valley, says a report published by an Indian news portal, sroll.in. it says that the picture showed the so-called Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor, GC Murmu, holding a meeting with a battery of bureaucrats. It says, social media users in the Valley were quick to point out that, out of the 19 men in the photograph, there was only one Kashmiri Muslim – Farooq Ahmad Lone, a former Indian Administrative Service officer from the Kashmir Valley.

“Islam is the major religion practiced in Kashmir, with 97.00% of the region’s population identifying as Muslims and among them just Farooq Lone sb is standing alone in decision making with regard to highly Muslim populated Jammu and Kashmir as I could see,” the report quoted a Facebook user from Kashmir Valley, as saying.

The report says that the picture cut to the heart of the anxiety that has gripped the Valley ever since August 5, 2019, when Modi government repealed Article 370 that granted special status to occupied Kashmir, split it into two Union Territories and imposed military siege. It adds that the Indian Parliament also repealed Article 35A, which had empowered the government of the occupied territory to define “permanent residents” of Jammu and Kashmir and reserve for them specific rights, such as the right to own land and hold government jobs, in Kashmir.

The move was aimed at introducing demographic change to the predominantly Muslim Kashmir Valley, robbing its inhabitants of economic and political rights, it further adds.

As per the report, the so-called legislative assembly of occupied Kashmir, now disbanded, had traditionally been dominated by the Muslim-majority Valley. It says that with the August 5 decisions, the Valley residents fear the “comeback of Dogra rule”, referring to the unpopular Hindu kings of the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir, which existed before 1947.

It was not just the picture that triggered these fears, it says.

“In civil bureaucracy, police and judiciary, Muslims in Kashmir feel nowhere,” the report quotes Ghulam Hassan Mir, a former so-called minister in the occupied territory and now a member of the newly floated Jammu and Kashmir Apni Party, as having said in a recent interview. “They are being sidelined and there is complete imbalance in the system. Kashmiris are found nowhere and even in the civil secretariat, which is the seat of power, the dejected Kashmiri officers are feeling detached.”

The report points out that since the BJP withdrew support to the PDP-led puppet regime in 2018, Jammu and Kashmir has been governed directly by India, first through the governor and later through the lieutenant governor. “Both acted in consultation with an advisory council. In these two years, only one Kashmiri bureaucrat has been part of the council – Khurshid Ahmad Ganai, a retired Indian Administrative Service officer,” it says.

Since then, Kashmiris have disappeared from the core unit of the administration altogether. While the administration is closely controlled by the Indian Ministry of Home Affairs – most important policy decisions have been announced by it – the lieutenant governor and his four advisors are now the face of government in Jammu and Kashmir. Each advisor has the powers of a minister, supervising different departments instead of holding portfolios. Three of the advisors are from Jammu. The fourth is from Uttar Pradesh. None of them is from the Kashmir Valley.

As per the report, key departments like home, finance, health, environment are headed by officers from outside occupied Kashmir. The only officer from the Kashmir Valley running an important department is Asgar Hassan Samoon, principal secretary for school education, it says.

Meanwhile, the Jammu and Kashmir police force is headed by Dilbag Singh from Punjab. Mukesh Singh from Delhi heads the police in the Jammu division and Vijay Kumar from Bihar is the inspector general of police, the report says. “None of the five deputy inspector generals is from Kashmir. In the 13 police districts of the Kashmir Valley, only two are under the charge of Kashmiri superintendents,” it says.

Kashmiri judges are a minority in the Jammu and Kashmir High Court, too, the report says, adding that of the 11 sitting judges, only two are Kashmiri Muslims while two are Kashmiri Pandits.

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