The proposed plan to set-up Sainik colonies in Kashmir has snowballed into a major controversy in the Kashmir region. The separatists have termed it as a ploy to settle non-state subjects in the Valley. Separatists have even warned that the proposed plan would have serious repercussions. They alleged the intention behind setting up a Sainik colony here is to change the demography of the Muslim majority Valley.
Opposing the proposal, a strike call was jointly given by Hurriyat Conference (G) Chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Hurriyat Conference (M) Chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front Chairman Muhammad Yasin Malik and it was supported by other groups including militant outfit Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT). Authorities arrested Malik while Geelani and Mirwaiz have been placed under house arrest to prevent them from leading any anti-India rallies.
All the shops, schools and govt. offices remained closed after the strike was called; there was fewer availability of public transport. The J&K government had deployed heavy police and CRPF forces to keep the situation under control.
J&K Deputy CM Nirmal Singh backed the demand for setting up a Sainik colony in the state citing the example of Sainik Colony in Jammu where the residents are deemed as state subjects.
However the protesting leaders stated that “While people of Kashmir would welcome the return of Kashmiri Pandits, today's strike showed the world that separate settlements on the basis of religion won't be allowed in Kashmir”.
Amid raging controversy, the state Chief Minister, Madam Mehbooba Mufti maintained that no land has been allotted for this purpose. Her government categorically said that there is no land in Kashmir for making sainik colonies and there is no question of making exclusive colonies for Kashmiri Pandits in the valley.