India says it plans to hire tens of thousands of government workers in occupied Kashmir after New Delhi stripped Kashmiris of the constitutional rights they had for seven decades through a rushed presidential order.
Satya Pal Malik, the New Delhi-appointed governor, called it the largest recruitment drive in the disputed region, with officials planning to fill up “50,000 vacancies in various government departments in the next few months”.
At a news conference on Wednesday in Srinagar, Malik also announced that the government is willing to commit $700 million to help apple farmers.
Indian authorities believe the move will expand the region’s economy, to which horticulture, particularly apple orchards, is critical.
Malik assured people of peace and said ‘normalcy’ will soon return to occupied Kashmir.
He said mobile phone services in 10 districts of occupied Jammu and Kashmir will be restored and mobile phone services also will be back in the northern Kupwara and Handwara police districts in the Kashmir valley.
The Press Trust of India news agency reported that Malik acknowledged at his news conference that Indian paramilitary forces used pellet guns during protests in Kashmir.
Indian officials have characterized their surprise move to strip Kashmir’s special constitutional status as a way to boost its economic potential. They are also planning an international investment summit in the region as India has seen a slowdown in its economy.