Lawmaker: India Revoking Kashmir Autonomy Allows Bachelors to Marry ‘Fair’ Kashmir Girls

Kashmiri groom and bride in traditional attire walk their "Yanivol" or wedding day in Srinagar part of Indian-controlled Kashmir on September 25, 2010. Wedding functions, traditionally ostentatious ceremonies that run for many days, have been affected by clashes between stone-throwing crowds and security forces that have killed 107 civilians following …
ROUF BHAT/AFP/Getty

Workers from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in India can marry “fair girls” from Kashmir, a lawmaker declared this week after the Himalayan region lost its autonomy.

Amid the presence of thousands of Indian troops, an indefinite security lockdown, severed internet, cellphone, and other communication lines, India rescinded Kashmir’s special status (Article 370) on Tuesday. The move triggered protests across Kashmir. Kashmir is India’s only Muslim-majority region.

Vikram Singh, a BJP lawmaker from Uttar Pradesh (UT), said at an event Tuesday that party workers can now buy land, and get married in Kashmir.

NDTV explains:

BJP lawmaker explaining the merits of the centre’s move to end special status to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 offered this appalling point – that party workers could now marry fair women from Kashmir. Vikram Saini, Uttar Pradesh legislator, is no stranger to controversy. His misogynistic statements have been caught on camera.

Despite removing Kashmir’s limited autonomy, Pakistan, India, and China still have competing claims to the region. Pakistan has ceded its ally China some territory, but India challenges Beijing’s presence in the region. India and Pakistan both claim all of Kashmir as their own.

After revoking Kashmir’s special status, India declared Pakistan and China-held Kashmir as part of India, angering Islamabad and Beijing.

Video footage purportedly shows the Indian lawmaker speaking at an event about marrying “fair” girls from Kashmir, the Indian Express noted.

Singh said:

The workers are very excited and those who are bachelors, they can get married there. There is no issue now. Earlier, there was lot of atrocities on women. If a woman from there [Kashmir] got married to a man from Uttar Pradesh, her citizenship would be revoked. There was different citizenship for India and Kashmir. And the Muslim workers should celebrate here. Get married there. To a fair Kashmiri girl. There should be celebrations. Everyone should celebrate … Be it Hindu or Muslims. This is something the entire country should be celebrating.

Asked about his remarks, the lawmaker said he had no regrets, adding, “Now anyone can get married to a Kashmiri girl without any issue. That is all I said, and it is the truth. This is freedom for the people of Kashmir. That is why we organized the event Tuesday. Now, Kashmiris have attained freedom.”

This week, India’s ruling BJP took away Kashmir’s special status, forcing the country’s only Muslim-majority region to merge with the rest of the country. Independent critics and the United States have accused the BJP of inciting hatred against India’s religious minorities, mostly Muslims, but also Christians.

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