New Delhi: After UN human rights experts expressed concern that the new domicile rules may lead to a demographic change in Jammu and Kashmir, India lashed out, questioning the “objectivity and neutrality” of the independent experts appointed by the UN Human Rights Council.
On Thursday, special rapporteur (SR) on minority issues Fernand de Varennes and SR on freedom of religion or belief Ahmed Shaheed issued a joint statement that expressed concern at the loss of autonomy guarantees for the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
The experts stated that Jammu and Kashmir’s constitutional status was revoked “unilaterally and without consultation” in August 2019. About a year later, new domicile rules were introduced, which the UN experts claimed “removed protections given to those from the territory”.
“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 in a statement released in Geneva.
It added that 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”.