Weeks after the Indian Supreme Court’s decision to legalize the Narendra Modi-led government’s abrogation of Article 370, which revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir, New Delhi is preparing for extensive screening and profiling of residents in the region.
The development follows the December 2022 ruling by a five-judge bench, led by Chief Justice of India Dhananjaya Yeshwant Chandrachud, affirming Jammu and Kashmir as an integral part of India as per Articles 1 and 370 of the constitution. The court also mandated elections in the region by September 2024. This ruling was in response to petitions challenging the 2019 revocation and the bifurcation of the region into two federally administered territories.
In a move to further assert control over the region, New Delhi has sanctioned the establishment of the Finger Print Bureau in Jammu and Kashmir. This bureau is tasked with screening and profiling the Kashmiri population, perceived as an effort to suppress pro-freedom sentiments.
The Kashmir Media Service reports that 73 posts have been approved for this new bureau. Headed by a Senior Superintendent of Police and assisted by additional police officers, the bureau aims to create a comprehensive database of fingerprint records of Kashmiri residents. This database will assist the Indian army, police, paramilitary forces, and investigation agencies in conducting checks and analyses.
International Reactions and Pakistan’s Response
The situation in Jammu and Kashmir, particularly since the revocation of its semi-autonomous status in August 2019, has drawn international attention due to reports of mass arrests, internet blackouts, and suppression of dissent and freedom of expression. Pakistan has repeatedly urged the international community, including the UN, OIC, and EU, to hold India accountable for alleged human rights violations in the region.
The caretaker Foreign Minister of Pakistan, Jalil Abbas Jilani, has emphasized that domestic legislation and judicial verdicts cannot override the international status of a disputed territory. He has called upon the UN Security Council to enforce its resolutions on the Jammu and Kashmir dispute, urging India to end human rights violations and reverse its actions taken since August 5, 2019.