Onion Territory of Jammu and Kashmir

Photo Credit: Guftar Ahmad

/ By Mazhar Iqbal /

Internet is amazing. Occasionally, we find things that show us the ugly side of the reality. During the pomp and show that we routinely see in inaugural and ceremonial events of the publicly funded projects, we also look at the things that are strikingly in contrast with what these projects openly display.

The word territory is less common in common parlance of Jammu and Kashmir. This is probably because of the sensitivities around territorial claims over ( the lands and resources of ) the state of Jammu and Kashmir.

However, one object of common interest in all parts of Jammu and Kashmir is the display of incorrect language and misspellings in inaugural and foundation laying stones of public sector development schemes.

One such unique foundation stone has been highlighted by Mukhtar Ahmad, a political activist and spokesperson of community organisation in Indian held Jammu and Kashmir. The Gujjar Bakarwal Youth Welfare Conference (J&KGBYWC ) is a Non Political Organisation working for Tribals, Nomads Gujjar Bakarwals in J&K.

The issues that are focussed by this organisation are interesting in various accounts. Forest rights, corruption in public sector developmental projects, community bunkers, bribery in official dealings, and internet connectivity are a few examples of their recent successful or semi-successful campaigns.

The Government of Indian held Jammu and Kashmir had set March 2021 for the implementation of the Forest Rights Act in the Union Territory, but it appears that implementation of the Act may get delayed under the prevailing circumstances. The Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006, is a key piece of forest legislation passed in India on 18 December 2006.

The law concerns the rights of forest-dwelling communities to land and other resources, denied to them over decades as a result of the continuance of colonial forest laws in India.

Supporters of the Act claim that it will redress the “historical injustice” committed against forest dwellers, while including provisions for making conservation more effective and more transparent. The demand for the law has seen massive national demonstrations involving hundreds of thousands of people.

However, the law has also been the subject of considerable controversy in India. Opponents of the law claim it will lead to massive forest destruction and should be repealed.

Saqib Zahoor, a social media user commented on the picture about ‘Onion Territory’ that after the abolition of article 370 and 35A , the Jammu and Kashmir had turned into an onion territory.

The forest department has reportedly demolished houses of Gujjar Bakarwals in various districts and villages. The community has stressed the need for an amicable solution of forest rights issues as the FRA has been termed as a tool to targeting selected community in Jammu Kashmir.