Last week, seven human rights lawyers and activists from the Kashmiri diaspora from all over Europe, pleaded the European Union during a press conference in the Press Club Brussels Europe to take action against a controversial change of the Indian constitution.
The article 35a guarantees – up to now – that the actual majority in this region will not be changed.
Kashmir has about the size of Romania and about the number of population of Belgium. It is located in the northernmost geographical region of the Indian subcontinent. Because of its geographical beauty, its water resources and its moderate climate, it was frequently targeted by its neighbors.
After WWII, it was divided between India (43%), Pakistan (37%) and China (20%). Since then, it was the center of three wars and numerous border incidents between India and Pakistan. The refusal of the 95% Muslim majority in the Indian-administered part to accept that governance has create civil unrest, and human rights violations from the more than half a million Indian armed forces.
The new Indian government under a “very Hindu-oriented” leadership, wants to finish once and for all with the problem by a transformation of demography. Indonesia exercised it in West Papua, China in Lhasa, Israel in Palestine and Morocco in the Western Sahara.
The main obstacle to such an ethnic transfer of population is article 35a, which makes it difficult or impossible for citizens from other parts of India to become permanent residents of Kashmir. Without such an article and with financial incentives, hundreds of thousands of Indians might move quickly to that disputed territory.
Taking into consideration, the political mobilization of the indigenous population, a change of the constitution will certainly cause a considerable increase in violence. If the referendum on their future – requested by the UN since 1949 – would be held in some ten years, the result might be pro-Indian.
The Kashmiri representatives asked the EU Commission and the European External Action Service to to express their concerns.
The European Parliament, especially its Foreign Affairs Committee and its Human Right Subcommittee, was asked to take a position at this administrative war to use a shift of population as a weapon.