India sparks anger with 'Israel-style' settlement policy in disputed Kashmir

By REUTERS
April 10, 2015 17:22
1 minute read.

 
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India's nationalist government plans to resettle tens of thousands of Hindus in three new townships in Muslim-dominated Kashmir, setting up a confrontation with separatists who say it is an Israel-style policy of creating settlements in occupied territory.

Many Kashmiri Hindus, or Pandits, also say they are not in favour of the plan.

Between 200,000 to 300,000 Hindus are estimated to have fled Kashmir after an armed revolt against New Delhi's rule erupted in 1989 and Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has long vowed to return them to their homes.

Just a month ago, the BJP took control of the Kashmir government in alliance with a regional partner - the first time the Hindu nationalist party has been in power in the state. This week, the state government unveiled a plan to set up self-contained, heavily guarded colonies for Hindus who fled their homes and are now living elsewhere in India or overseas.

Kashmir is divided between Hindu-majority India and Islamic Pakistan and the nuclear-armed neighbors have gone to war two times over the territory since independence in 1947. A third confrontation in 1999 stopped short of a formal war.

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