India has planned to hire tens of thousands of government employees in its latest blatant attempt of tightening its grip on the besieged region of Jammu and Kashmir after revoking its special autonomy that had restricted outsiders from buying land or holding private-sector jobs there.
Satya Pal Malik, the New Delhi-appointed governor, during a press conference in Srinagar on Wednesday called it the largest recruitment drive in the region, with officials planning to fill up “50,000 vacancies in various government departments in the next few months.”
An Indian news agency reported that Malik acknowledged at his news conference that Indian paramilitary forces used pellet guns during protests in occupied Kashmir.
Malik spoke hours after India’s top court took up challenges to ending Kashmir’s special status and asked the government to explain its stance. Political analysts believe that the loss of special status has nothing to do with the region’s economy and consider it a “deception in a form of aggression” from the Indian government.
State data, however, shows Kashmir’s gross domestic product, the value of all goods and services in the state, has risen from $16.7 billion in 2012 to an estimated $21.9 billion last year. In contrast, India is grappling with economic growth that has slowed to a five-year low of 5.8% in the quarter from January to March. Declining industrial output and automobile sales have further raised fears of a deeper slowdown in the country.
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