NEW DELHI: India pushes more 10,000 paramilitary troops in Indian Occupied Kashmir valley sparking fears that India may set aside a constitutional provision Article 35A.
Article 35A allows Indians to buy land in the Muslim majority region.
Indian Occupied Kashmir
Tensions in Indian-administered Kashmir rose Sunday over the weekend after the deployment of at least 10,000 paramilitary troops to the troubled region despite authorities’ assertions the move was routine.
India maintains a deployment of 500,000 soldiers in the Muslim-majority Himalayan region, which has been divided between the South Asian nation and Pakistan since their split in 1947.
The region has seen a resurgence of hostilities in recent years, while locals are fearful about the loss of special privileges after India’s Supreme Court last year began hearing a case challenging a constitutional provision.
Officials said the movement of troops — set to rise to 20,000 — was to relieve exhausted personnel deployed since local civic polls last year and now monitoring an annual Hindu pilgrimage.
“Troops have been working constantly for seven months. Some have to go on leave and some for training outside,” Director General of Police Dilbagh Singh told AFP.
“We have requisitioned for 200 companies (20,000 troops), more might arrive.”
A senior security official, speaking to AFP on condition of anonymity, said the deployment was to guard against possible protests about a decision or event, without giving further details.
He added that India’s security set-up in Kashmir was “being re-oriented like never before.”
Locals told AFP they were worried Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government wanted to set aside a constitutional provision — Article 35A — which would allow Indians from outside the disputed territory to buy land there.