Monitoring Desk: “India is sponsoring settler colonialism in Indian Occupied Kashmir by recruiting a settler class whose goal is not only to occupy indigenous land but also to eliminate the indigenes who stand in their way. Thus, as non-Kashmiris flood, the region as new residents, India’s identity as a settler state comes to the fore”.
This is observed in an academic report produced and published by Harvard Law Review Research. The Harvard Law Review is a student-run organization with a primary focus to publish a journal of legal scholarship. The Review publishes articles by professors, judges, and practitioners and solicits reviews of important recent books from recognized experts. All articles — even those by the most respected authorities — are subjected to a rigorous editorial process designed to sharpen and strengthen substance and tone.
The Report states that India as a state is facilitating the erasure and elimination of indigenous communities in Indian Kashmir (read as Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir). Military impunity, arbitrary detention, and displacement of Kashmiris reveal how the settler colonial mindset animated India’s relationship with Kashmir long before the events of August 5, 2019.
The Report compares the Indian colonization of Indian Occupied Kashmir with Israeli colonization and indicates that Indian design is somehow or other is same as what was executed by Israel against Palestinians.
On August 5, 2019, the Indian government revoked the autonomous status of Jammu and Kashmir by abrogating Articles 370 and 35A of the Indian Constitution.
Over 10,000 worded report believes that although many saw Article 370 as largely symbolic, Article 35A of the Constitution had a practical function for preserving Kashmiri identity. Article 35A vested Kashmir’s legislative assembly with the sole authority to define “permanent residents.” Significantly, the local government was able to affix special privileges — such as the ability to purchase land — to permanent residents. The effect was that only Kashmiris could own property in a region that India has long claimed as its own. In revoking Article 35A, the Indian government unearthed a fear that Kashmiris had been wrestling with since Independence: that India would recruit non-Kashmiri settlers to dilute the region’s ethnic and religious makeup. August 5, then, marked a critical turning point in the Kashmir dispute. Although the colonial lens has been applied to Kashmir in the past, the abrogation suggests that the settler colonial lens may be more fitting. Settler colonialism is premised on the recruitment of a settler class whose goal is not only to occupy indigenous land but also to eliminate the indigenes who stand in their way. Thus, as non-Kashmiris flood, the region as new residents, and India’s identity as a settler state comes to the fore. The law often plays a crucial role in facilitating the erasure and elimination of indigenous communities in settler colonial projects. Exploring features of the post-Partition legal regime — especially military impunity, arbitrary detention, and displacement — reveals how the settler colonial mindset animated India’s relationship with Kashmir long before the events of August 5th.
This Report uses settler colonial theory to explain how the August 5 abrogation came about. It begins by laying out a theoretical framework for understanding settler colonialism. Next, it contextualizes and documents the legally momentous events of August 5, 2019, highlighting both the thwarted promises of Kashmiri autonomy and the growing settler colonial desire to control Kashmir and its land. It concludes by analyzing the legal regime that facilitated the full emergence of the settler project today. While August 5 may have been the tipping point for the settler colonial project in Kashmir, it was in no way the start.
Scholars and commentators fear that abrogation of Articles 370 and 35A will precipitate India’s “settler colonial project” in Kashmir: India can now recruit non-Kashmiris to dilute the region’s predominantly Muslim population.4 Settler colonial studies is a relatively new field of interest in postcolonial literature. Traditionally a school of anthropological and political thought, settler colonialism has often been applied to dissect the struggles of indigenous communities in the United States, New Zealand, and Australia.5 Scholars have also extended the framework to explain the twentieth-century settler projects waged against Palestinians.6 Colonialism and settler colonialism are distinct, yet intertwined, modes of oppression. While both entail migration and a relationship of ascendency, their ultimate desires are fundamentally different.
Colonizers say, “you, work for me,” and settler colonizers say, “you, go away.” Classic colonialism is “a system of domination” facilitated by territorial acquisition.
The colonizers, in dominating an indigenous majority, act to fulfill the interests of their distant metropolis.10 Their goal is not to stay in their newly sought territory, but rather to exploit profits to “sustain the permanent subordination of the colonized.”The primary objective of settler colonialism, by contrast, is to permanently occupy the colonized territory: settler states recruit settler classes that “bring with them a purported sovereign prerogative to establish a new state on someone else’s land.”