Eviction and Demolition in Kashmir: Basic Human Rights Violations – Dr. Fai

IOK - Indian Occupied Kashmir Jammu & Kashmir

Washington, D.C. February 8, 2023. Dr. Ghulam Nabi Fai, Chairman, ‘World Forum for Peace & Justice’ said that the massive protests by global Kashmiri diaspora is in response to the Indian Government’s attempt at confiscating over 203,264 acres of land for the development of Indian settlements, which is being done under the pretext of ‘The enactment of Jammu & Kashmir Re-organization Act of 2019.’ In this regard, the Government of India has amended scores of laws which were responsible to protect the land and other rights of the indigenous population of Jammu & Kashmiri. One such law was ‘Jammu & Kashmir Agrarian Reforms Act of 1976’ under which the transfer of ownership rights of land was given to tiller; and provided surplus land to the landless and poor persons. The Act was challenged before the Supreme Court of India and the Supreme Court held its constitutional validity observed besides other points that ‘the Act is a measure of agrarian reforms and is saved by article 31A of the Constitution from the challenge under article 14, 19, 31.’

Dr. Fai emphasized that the global Kashmiri diaspora’s explosive frustration is to this monumental revulsion against the ‘land-grab’ which is the grotesque violations of their basic human rights. More specifically, the people of Jammu & Kashmir believe that this recent ‘land grab’ clearly, is attempting to change the demographics of Kashmir and ferociously follows the Indian army precedent of occupying hundreds of thousands of acres of land belonging to indigenous population of Kashmir.

Dr. Fai warned that eviction and demolition would be war crimes according to the international law because it violates various internationally recognized human rights. Dr. Fai cited the ‘United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing’ which stated: “The UN Basic Principles and Guidelines on Development-based Evictions and Displacement (2007) further expanded the definition of forced evictions to mean: [A]cts and / or omissions involving the coerced or involuntary displacement of individuals, groups and communities from homes and / or lands and common property resources that were occupied or depended upon, thus eliminating or limiting the ability of an individual, group or community to reside or work in a particular dwelling, residence or location, without the provision of, and access to, appropriate forms of legal or other protection…The often violent practice of forced eviction involves the coerced and involuntary removal of persons, families and groups from their homes, lands and communities, whether or not deemed legal under prevailing systems of law, resulting in greater homelessness and inadequate housing and living conditions.”

Fai further quoted ‘United Nations Human Rights Commission Resolutions 1993/77 and 2004/28 which affirmed that forced evictions violate human rights.’ The UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights defines forced eviction as the: [P]ermanent or temporary removal against the will of individuals, families or communities from their homes or land, which they occupy, without the provision of, and access to, appropriate forms of legal or other protection.

“The world powers, including global civil society must condemn the surprise raids carried out by India’s National Investigation Agency (NIA) in Jammu & Kashmir, and the demolition and destruction of property of human rights activists, civil society experts and political leadership. These raids have become the favored tools of Hindutva BJP government to silence the civilian population whose demand has been the ‘right to self-determination’ that was guaranteed to them under successive UN Security Council resolutions,” Fai added.