Islam, Women, and Violence in Kashmir: Between India and Pakistan

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New Delhi’s Demographic Designs in Kashmir

Even as the pilot walked free, four policemen died in an encounter with Kashmiri militants. The wider story in a crisis with such potential devastation, involving, as it does, nuclear powers, is that the Modi government has launched a nationwide anti-Muslim agenda that regards Muslims as unpatriotic, Pakistan as a cunning and implacable foe and Kashmiri separatists as its willing tools.

Yet the wellsprings of Kashmiri separatism are indigenous and sustained Indian mismanagement means Pakistan now needs to do little to keep Kashmir burning. Successive governments, including the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance that ran India from to , are guilty of neglecting the province. Advised by Ajit Doval, a former intelligence chief who is now national security adviser, Modi seeks to tire out the Kashmiri resistance. This involves refusing to acknowledge the political root of the Jammu and Kashmir problem, treating it instead as a mere security issue that is best managed by giving the security forces a free hand.


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Kashmiri separatist leaders and the young people who come out on the streets at their behest are considered Muslim traitors, rather than the manifestation of a political problem that has to be discussed and resolved, not militarily crushed. There is an acute awareness of the discrimination faced by Kashmiri youth who seek work outside the state, such as difficulty in renting houses and even targeted violence after incidents such as the recent suicide attack.

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These anti-Muslim themes are reinforced by lack of economic opportunity and the absence of political engagement, which causes estranged young people to pick up the gun. When security forces corner militants, locals who know them come out and pelt stones at the police and soldiers. The inevitable retaliation causes civilian deaths and the consequent funerals — of both militants and civilians — seethe with emotion, driving even more youths into the insurgency.

This vicious cycle ensures that, even as large numbers of militants are killed, more and more replenish the ranks. Unsurprisingly, this has led to steadily escalating levels of violence in the province of Jammu and Kashmir. But the number of soldiers killed has more than doubled too — from 46 in to 95 last year.

Exit Wounds

Worse, more security personnel have died in the first two months of this year than in all of India did not sign a similar standstill agreement with the princely state. As partition-related violence raged across the two new nations , the government of Pakistan pressured Kashmir to join it. Pro-Pakistani rebels, funded by Pakistan, took over much of western Kashmir, and in September , Pashtun tribesmen streamed over the border from Pakistan into Kashmir.

Singh agreed and signed the Instrument of Accession , the document that aligned Kashmir with the Dominion of India, in October Kashmir was later given special status within the Indian constitution—a status which guaranteed that Kashmir would have independence over everything but communications, foreign affairs, and defense. This special status was revoked by the Indian government in August The maharaja's fateful decision to align Kashmir with India ushered in decades of conflict in the contested region, including two wars and a longstanding insurgency.

The Kashmir conflict: How did it start? The dispute between India and Pakistan over Kashmir was sparked by a fateful decision in , and has resulted in decades of violence, including two wars.

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Refworld | Chronology for Kashmiris in India

By Erin Blakemore. Boundary claimed by India. Boundary claimed by China.

Boundary claimed by Pakistan. NGM Maps. Khunjerab Pass.

People in Kashmir react to India-Pakistan peace initiative

Siachen Glacier. The maharaja of Kashmir, Hari Singh, in June