Move to settle Kashmiri Muslims in Jammu is fraught with dangerous ramifications

J & K Govt.'s new GO that allows Kashmiri Muslims to settle in Jammu causing tension

J & K Govt.'s new GO that allows Kashmiri Muslims to settle in Jammu causing tension
J & K Govt.'s new GO that allows Kashmiri Muslims to settle in Jammu causing tension

[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]P[/dropcap]atience of people of Jammu is ending and ending very fast. They are not only feeling completely alienated from the essentially “Kashmir-centric” Mehbooba Mufti-led PDP-BJP coalition government and accusing it of “snatching almost everything from Jammu”. They also are describing it as a grave threat to the Jammu’s very Hindu-majority character and Dogra identity, culture and ethos. They are annoyed more with the BJP than with the PDP and the reasons are not far to seek. The most important one is that the BJP, instead of asserting its position and authority, has been only endorsing all the decisions and actions of the Chief Minister. Its political duty doesn’t lie beyond endorsing the PDP policy. This is what a peep into its track record reveals.

But a change, if not a revolution of the type of 2008, is imminent.

The fact of the matter is that the official policy towards Jammu has created a widespread disappointment and dissatisfaction among all, except in a limited circle of those in the government and close to corridors of power. But a change, if not a revolution of the type of 2008, is imminent. Anything can happen any time in Jammu. The situation is grave as the provocation is very grave.

A case in point is the Government Order No.55-R&R of 2016, dated, October 5, 2016, which induces Kashmiri Muslims to migrate to Jammu and avail themselves of “facilities” the internally-displaced Kashmiri Hindus have been availing since their forced migration to Jammu in January 1990. The people of Jammu came to know about this order only last week.

The Government Order, which was signed by B B Vyas, Financial Commission, Relief and Rehabilitation Department, Government of J & K, reads: “Sanction is hereby accorded to the reconstitution of the Committee for screening of the applications for registration of the bonafide Kashmiri migrants”.

The terms of reference of the Committee are:

  1. “Migrants who have migrated or may migrate due to threat to them or to their families from the militants after fulfillment of all the necessary formalities laid down by the Government for registration of these migrants from time to time”;

  2. “the Committee shall dispose of the applications for registration on case to case basis on consideration of the threat perception/verification report by Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and by the District Magistrate of the concerned district”; and

  3. “the meeting of the Screening Committee shall be held at least twice in a month”.

[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]T[/dropcap]he order clearly lays down the modus operandi for registration of migrants “who have migrated or may migrate due to threat to them or to their families from militants”, thus clearly stipulating that those likely to face so-called threats in future would also be covered under the new order. In fact, it directly induces and encourages Kashmiri Muslims to migrate to Jammu. No wonder then that it is widely believed in Jammu that “under the garb of the said order the government wants to clear the decks for settling more people in Jammu from Kashmir”.

People of Jammu had been demanding expulsion of these foreigners, who were settled in and around Jammu…

The order issued by the Revenue Department has created an alarm in Jammu as all further registrations for migrants banned since 2008 to curb the unhealthy practice are sought to be re-opened despite the tall claims of the government that the situation in Kashmir has considerably improved. The people of Jammu take this order to mean yet another attempt on the part of the government to “change the demographic profile of Dogra land and to create a regional rupture” (State Times, Feb 23).

The state government embarked upon yet another controversial move of opening fresh registration for Kashmiri Muslims in Jammu close on the heels of settlement of foreign nationals, including Rohingya and Bangladeshi Muslims, in Jammu. People of Jammu had been demanding expulsion of these foreigners, who were settled in and around Jammu in their thousands, since months now, but the state government, instead of appreciating their concerns and fears, came out with an outrageous order that has all the potential of provoking political explosions of portentous dimensions in the already rather volatile Jammu.

[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]T[/dropcap]hey have described the move of the government as “obnoxious” and “sinister” and asserted that the “content and the language used in the government order reflects the pernicious designs of the sinister alliance”. “Jammu could not be allowed to be converted into a refugee camp.

The fresh registration of Muslims, who have migrated from Kashmir due to the 2016 Kashmir unrest has sent wrong signals among the Kashmiri Pandits…
– Vinod Pandita

The BJP has not only maintained culpable silence over the issue of Rohingyas and Bangladeshis but has also acquiesced in the process of fresh migrations to Jammu, thus allowing the erosion of Dogra identify and dilution of rich culture of Dogras. The Government must withdraw this order and deport illegal foreign nationals from Jammu. The order and the settlement of Rohingyas and Bangladeshis in various colonies in and around Jammu have sparked a huge outrage in the Dogra land,” they have also said (State Times, Feb 23). The upshot of their whole opposition to the fresh registration of the so-called migrants and the flooding of Jammu with people from various parts of the world is that the Dogras are being reduced to a miniscule minority under a well hatched conspiracy.

Not only the people of Jammu but even the internally-displaced Kashmiri Hindus have torn into the PDP-BJP Government and opposed fresh registration for “migrants” from Kashmir. “The fresh registration of Muslims, who have migrated from Kashmir due to the 2016 Kashmir unrest has sent wrong signals among the Kashmiri Pandits,” said Vinod Pandita, chairman of All-Party Migrant Coordination Committee (APMCC). “On the one hand, the Legislative Assembly and Council have passed unanimous resolutions to take back displaced Kashmiri Hindus and rehabilitate them with honour and dignity, and, on the other, now they say fresh migration of Muslims have taken place from Kashmir in the wake of the 2016 Kashmir unrest,” he also said (Tribune, Feb 28).

[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]T[/dropcap]he fresh registration of the so-called Muslim migrants from Kashmir has raised another important question. Till the other day, Kashmiri Muslim leaders used to say that it was Governor Jagmohan who made Hindus to quit Kashmir as he wanted to “carry out genocide of Kashmiri Muslims”. Who would they now blame for the migration of Muslims from Kashmir? Indeed, the manipulated migration of Kashmiri Muslims to Jammu has exposed their hypocrisy and given everyone in Jammu to understand that the reasons behind this fresh migration are deeper.

Withdrawal of the controversial order and expulsion of foreign nationals from Jammu is imperative…

In the meantime, the Screening Committee has started its work in right earnest. There are two reports in this regard. The PTI (Feb 28) says that “110 persons from the Muslim community” have been declared migrants after “proper screening” in February itself. Another report says that “2,252 Muslim families have migrated to Jammu and enrolled themselves as migrants” (State Times, March 1).

That the process of migration of Kashmiri Muslims to Jammu has started could be seen from the statement of none other than Y P Suman, Relief and Rehabilitation Commissioner, J & K Government. On February 28, he, among other things, said: “The fresh registration is being done for the people (read Muslims from Kashmir) who have migrated to Jammu due to threat in Kashmir following the 2016 Kashmir unrest” (Tribune, Feb 28).

The Government of India would do well to take cognizance of the fast-changing demographic profile of Jammu and act to avert the impending confrontation between the people of Jammu and the Mehbooba Mufti-led Government. Withdrawal of the controversial order and expulsion of foreign nationals from Jammu is imperative not only to ensure peace in Jammu but also in the larger national interest. Will it rise to the occasion or dither?

Note:
1. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.

Hari Om is former Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Jammu.
Hari Om

2 COMMENTS

  1. You have to be clear. What do you want ? Jammu or Jammu Kashmir.if your demand is later you should not have any objections on this order

  2. What dual faced people you are .On one hand you talk about whole nation and on other you talk about laws to prohibit movement of state subjects in their own state.Why do you want to see only dogras in jammu if you cannot let go of kashmir

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