Unmasking the Indian Narrative of Normalcy in IOJK


One year of India's clampdown in occupied Kashmir — here's everything you need to know - Pakistan - DAWN.COM

by Zafar Iqbal Yousafzai    30 April 2023

As unemployment rates continue to climb in Indian-occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IOJK), the situation on the ground is in stark contrast to the narrative being propagated by the Indian government. While India claims that the region is witnessing peace, prosperity and development, the reality is that the Kashmiri people are struggling with anxiety, fear, and insecurity.

The Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) has reported that Jammu Kashmir’s employment rate in March 2023 was at 23.1%, a significant increase from 17.1% in February 2023. The unemployment rate in the region has risen by over 6% from February to March, the third-highest increase among all states and UTs in India. This is a clear indication of the worsening economic situation in the region.

The Jammu Kashmir National Conference (JKNC) has criticized the IOJK administration over growing unemployment in the region, stating that it is beset with unemployment, development deficit, and administrative apathy. However, the Indian government has continued to propagate the narrative of peace, prosperity, and development in the region, insisting that jobs are at an all-time high. This stark contrast between the ground reality and the Indian government’s narrative is a cause of great concern for the people of IOJK.

Kashmiri leadership and masses believe that India is accommodating non-Kashmiris in various government organizations, thereby depriving the Kashmiris of their right to employment. The Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries (KCCI) has highlighted that at least 5,000 salesmen in the tourism and mobile services business were not paid salaries, while 4.96 lakh people lost their jobs in the last three years. This alarming situation has forced many scholars to seek alternative forms of employment. Recently, The Kashmiriyat reported that two scholars, one with a Ph.D. degree and the other with an M. Phil degree, had opened a tea stall to earn their livelihood.

The Directorate of Employment witnessed three lakh registrations by postgraduates and Ph.D. degree holders for jobs in 2021, highlighting the growing frustration among educated Kashmiri youth. In the same year, the Jammu Kashmir Service Selection Board advertised 8,000 class IV posts, and more than 5.4 lakh aspirants applied for these positions, further highlighting the severity of the employment crisis in the region.

The discrepancies in the data provided by various government agencies and the ground situation indicate that India is resorting to falsehood as statecraft. While Kashmiris are suffering from the worst economic strangulation, the Indian government is planning to hold a controversial tourism event (G-20) to further its settler colonialism agenda. This move is a clear indication of India’s plan to subdue the peaceful freedom struggle of Kashmiris through economic exploitation while misleading the international community and human rights organizations.

The situation in IOJK is defined by anxiety, fear, and insecurity, making it difficult for the people to go about their daily lives. The Indian government’s narrative of peace, prosperity, and development is far from the ground reality, and the people of IIOJK are paying a heavy price for it. The unemployment crisis in the region is not only affecting the people’s livelihoods but is also contributing to a sense of hopelessness and despair.

It is high time that the international community takes notice of the situation in IOJK and holds India accountable for its actions. The Kashmiri people have suffered for decades and deserve the right to live in peace and dignity. The Indian government must stop its propaganda and work towards resolving the issues faced by the people of IOJK, including the growing unemployment crisis. Only then can the region move towards a peaceful and prosperous future.

It is quite evident that the Indian government is deliberately ignoring the plight of the people of IOJK and is busy pursuing its settler colonialism agenda under the guise of economic development. The growing unemployment, the development deficit, and administrative apathy are all indications that IOJK is defined by anxiety, fear, and insecurity.

In conclusion, the situation in IOJK remains precarious, and the people of the region continue to suffer at the hands of the Indian government. The Indian narrative of normalcy in IOJK is nothing more than a farce, and the reality on the ground is far different from what the Indian government claims. It is high time that the international community and HRs organizations take note of the atrocities being committed in IOJK and hold India accountable for its actions. As the famous saying goes, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”