What We're Watching: Kashmir gerrymandering

What We're Watching: Kashmir gerrymandering

Paramilitary soldiers patrol along a road during a day-long strike called by Separatists All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) and Bar Associations to protest against the recent civilian killings by Indian government forces in Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir, India, on November 19, 2021.

Sajad Hameed/INA Photo Agency/Sipa USA

India (further) dividing Kashmir. You've probably heard about Democrats and Republicans tweaking US congressional districts to ensure easy wins, yet make the electoral map overall less competitive. Now India is doing something similar to favor Hindus over Muslims in Jammu and Kashmir, a region long disputed with Pakistan. Majority-Muslim Kashmir — besides being the title of Led Zeppelin’s third greatest song — is bigger, has more natural resources, and has been the center of much of the decades-old insurgency against Delhi. But smaller Jammu has a slim Hindu majority, which PM Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist government wants to give more parliamentary power than their official population merits by redrawing electoral maps. This has triggered a new communal divide in a historically tense area, which two years ago was stripped of its autonomy by Modi. Since then Kashmir has “welcomed” over half a million Indian troops and imprisoned more politicians than ever before, but gerrymandering could be a step too far. Even Kashmiri officials who have historically sided with Delhi are speaking against the measures, warning of further unrest if such divisive policies are implemented.

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