Pakistani community leaders in Athens have called for a protest in front of the Indian Embassy in the Greek capital on Friday to voice their opposition to New Delhi’s abrogation of Article 370 of the constitution, thus ending Jammu and Kashmir’s special status.
“Protest in front of the Indian Embassy in the Greek capital Athens. All friends please participate. Please bring your Greek friends and families along. For God’s sake, be the voice of Kashmir,” a Pakistani community Facebook group urged.
The Pakistani community in Athens, mostly comprised of male illegal immigrants, constantly protest in front of the Indian Embassy to voice their opposition to an internal matter of India.
Despite the issue having nothing to do with Greece, taxpayers money is spent on police supervising protests to ensure the safety of Indian diplomats and embassy workers.
In turn, precious resources that should be used fighting criminality is being wasted on a protest that has no baring on the daily improved lives of Kashmiris.
On 5 August 2019, the Home Minister Amit Shah introduced the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill, 2019 in the Rajya Sabha to convert Jammu and Kashmir’s status of a state to two separate union territories, namely Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and Union Territory of Ladakh.
The union territory of Jammu and Kashmir was proposed to have a legislature under the bill whereas the union territory of Ladakh is proposed to not have one.
Indian Home Minister Amit Shah said that a new era dawned in Jammu and Kashmir on August 5, 2019, when the special status of the former State under Article 370 of the Constitution was removed by Parliament.
Shah virtually unveiled the statue of 11th century Vaishnavite saint Sri Ramanajucharya at the Sun Temple in Srinagar’s Sonawar. The statue weighs 600 kg and is four feet high.
Speaking on the occasion, Shah said that the Union Territory administration of J&K under Lieutenant-Governor Manoj Sinha has established a decisive domination over terrorism under the leadership of Prime Minister Modi.
He said the administration headed by Mr. Sinha has also delivered peace and development to the people of Kashmir without any discrimination.
“For a long time, the nation had a hope that Jammu and Kashmir will be irreversibly integrated with the nation by removal of Article 370 and Article 35A, and that hope was fulfilled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. On 5 August 2019, a new era was established in Kashmir,” Shah said.
He added that the unveiling of the “Statue of Peace” in Srinagar is a good sign for the people of India, especially the people of J&K.
“The statue will bring a message of peace and prosperity to people of all faiths in J&K and will steer it on the path of development,” the minister explained.
None-the-less, as many as 21 non-Muslim Kashmiris and outsiders were killed by militants in the Valley since August 5, 2019 but no Kashmiri Pandit migrated out of the Valley (since the said date), the government told the Lok Sabha on Wednesday, the Indian Express reported.
“From August 5, 2019, till July 9, 2022, 128 security personnel and 118 civilians have been killed by terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir. Out of 118 civilians killed, five were Kashmiri Pandits and 16 belonged to other Hindu/Sikh communities. No pilgrim has been killed during this period,” MoS Home Nityanand Rai told Lok Sabha in a written reply to a question.
On being asked how many Kashmiri Pandits had migrated out of the Valley due to these recent killings, Rai said, “Under the Prime Minister’s Development Package (PMDP), 5,502 Kashmiri Pandits have been provided Government jobs in different departments of Govt. of Jammu and Kashmir in the Valley. Further, as per the records, no Kashmiri Pandit has reportedly migrated from the Valley during the said period.”
In the aftermath of the 2021 killings, many Kashmiri Pandits had left the Valley and fled to Jammu out of fear. Some Pandits, engaged in government service in Kashmir, have also accused the government of forcing them to stay in the Valley by threatening disciplinary action.
The government has repeatedly said it is taking all possible measures to ensure safety of all migrants in the Valley.
“The government has a policy of zero tolerance against terrorism and the security situation has improved significantly in Jammu and Kashmir. There has been substantial decline in terrorist attacks from 417 in 2018 to 229 in 2021,” Rai said on Wednesday.
The Modi government has been trying to resettle migrated Kashmiri Pandits back to the Valley. The progress on this front, however, has been rather slow.
“Government of India approved construction of 6,000 transit accommodations for Kashmiri Migrant employees engaged/to be engaged in different districts of Kashmir Valley under the Prime Minister’s Development Package-2015 (PMDP-2015) announced on 7.11.2015.
Construction of 1,025 units has been completed/substantially completed, 1,872 units are at different stages of completion and work on remaining units has been taken up,” Rai said in reply to another question.
Meanwhile, the government told the Lok Sabha on Wednesday that state land (including Khalsa Sarkar, Kahchrie, Shamilat, etc.) measuring 2,359.45 hectares has been acquired by the government for various public purposes such as roads, including National Highways, railways, schools/colleges, playgrounds, parks, buildings, soil waste management, border fencing/border out posts, industrial estates etc. during the years 2019-20, 2020-21 and 2021-2022 (up to June 2022).
It also said that of the 8,565 hectares of land allotted under the Roshni Act scheme, it has been able to retrieve only over 1,300 hectares till date. These allotments had been cancelled by the J&K High Court.