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5/7/2016

IndiaisLosingKashmir|ForeignPolicy

India is Losing Kashmir


India is losing the support of the Kashmiri public, and this trend will continue unless it
brings about a radical change in its Kashmir policy.
BY IKRAM ULLAH

MAY 5, 2016

Kashmir has been simmering in decades of conflict since the partition of the Indian subcontinent in 1947.
The violence reached its peak in the 1980s and 90s, when the Pakistan-backed Kashmiri insurgency was at
its strongest. By the early 2000s, however, the violence seemed to have abated, and there was hope for a
peaceful settlement of the issue. But now, optimism for such a peaceful settlement is dwindling. As
Kashmir has seen a resurgence in violence, public support for the insurgency also seems to be increasing.
India is losing whateversupport it had among the general Kashmiri public, and this trend will continue
unless it brings about a radical change in its Kashmir policy.

Following the 1947 partition, the political status of the formerly independent princely state of Kashmir
was left largely contested by both Pakistan and India, which led to the establishment of the Line of Control
(LoC), dividing Kashmir between India and Pakistan after a U.N.-backed ceasefire. However, there
wereaspirations for political independence among some Kashmiris. By the late 1980s, such aspirations
had taken the shape of an armed revolt, backed by Pakistan, against Indian rule in Kashmir. India
responded with a massive crackdown on the militants, deploying over half a million soldiers in Kashmir,
often leading to grave human rights violations.

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The violence of the late 1980s and 1990s, which claimed thousands of lives, began to recede at the
beginning of the new millennium, as people gained faith in the dialogue process. In the following decade,
militancy-related causalities decreased significantly from 4,507 in 2001 to 377 in 2009. A major factor that
contributed to the decline in the violence was the endorsement of the dialogue process by Indias thenPrime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, which led to the historic Lahore Declaration in 1999, in which both
India and Pakistan committed to the peaceful resolution of the Kashmir issue. The repeated efforts of the
Vajpayee government to bring the pro-separatist Hurriyat political party and even the Hizbul Mijahideen
militant group to the table for talks led to a ceasefire. The option of autonomy within the ambit of the
Indian constitution offered by Vajpayee further fed the optimism for a peaceful settlement with India.
This political shift resulted in a relative calm over the ensuing years, with tourism and business in
Kashmir flourishing.

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However, a civilian uprising in 2010 and Indias brutal response signaled a shift in the political climate. In
the subsequent years, there has been a new surge in Kashmiri youth taking up arms against the Indian
establishment. Most of these young people are educated and come from well-off families in Kashmir.
These youths who are mostly joining Hizbul Mujahideen are garnering huge support from the general
population, and are increasingly attracting more and more peers to join their ranks. The face of this new
insurgency has been Burhan Muzaffar Wani, a young, social media-savvy militant who openly poses for
pictures with automatic assault rifles in hand and shares themon Facebook, drawing a huge number of
sympathetic comments. He has since released audio and video messages inviting other young Kashmiris
to join the insurgency and fight the Indian establishment. During a 2011 gunfight in Pulwama in southern
Kashmir, locals threw stones and bricks at Indian soldiers in a bid to help a trapped militant escape the
cordon. This has become commonplace to the point where security forces have sought to implement
Section 144 of Indias criminal procedure code, which prohibits the gathering of people around an
encounter site within a radius of 1.2 miles. On Feb. 21, local civilians were seen defying these restrictions
when they marched towards such an encounter site in the southern town of Pampore, again hurling stones
at the security personnel.

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In October of last year, Abu Qasim, a top commander of the militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba believed to
be responsible for several attacks on the Indian Army including the 2013 Hyderpora ambush was
killed.A sea of people attended his funeral procession. Authorities confirmed that militants also attended
the funeral and fired a three-volley salute to honor his death. As if this were not enough, people from the
villages of Khandaypora and Bugam clashed with each other over the honor of burying his body in their
respective villages. Then, in November, an armed conflict between militants and the Indian Army broke
out in the Manigah forests of Kupwara in Indian-administered Kashmir, lasting 27 days,killing two Indian
soldiers, and leaving six others injured. The General Officer Commanding (GoC) of the Indian Armys
Srinagar-based 15 Corps stated that the militants were getting supplies from the locals in the area. In yet
another incident, nearly 25,000 people attended the funeral procession of Shariq Ahmad Bhat, a member
of the Hizbul Mujahideen militant group, who was killed in Pulwama district on Jan. 20 of this year.
Militants were seen firing their AK-47 rifles in salute. The growing participation of locals in insurgencyrelated events suggests resurgent support for militancy in Kashmir, which has set alarm bells ringing in
the Indian security establishment. The renewed support is so strong that even the president of the
Kashmir High Court Bar Association, Mian Abdul Qayoom, recently indicated his support for the
insurgency, saying, We can also use [the] gun as a last resort, and it is no offence under [the] U.N.
Charter.
During a November 2014 visit to Kashmir, discussions with locals revealed that Kashmiris point to the
Indian governments policies for the resurgence in violence. Many were of the opinion that India has not
been honest in resolving the political problem of Kashmir. India asked us to give up arms and come to the
table, and we did it. What happened next? Nothing, said one Kashmiri. When the situation in Kashmir
was bad during the 90s, India repeatedly said that dialogue is the way forward to the Kashmir problem
and not violence. And now that India has strengthened its hold here, they say there is no political problem
at all, said another.

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People usually point tocivilian uprisings in 2008, 2009, and 2010 as the major turning points. Local
disgruntlement towards India intensified among the general public after hundreds of civilian youths were
killed during these protests. India could have done some damage control by punishing the cops involved
in shooting at the unarmed protesters andby following the recommendations of a government-appointed
panel. Instead, the government chose to disregard the recommendations and continued to insist that
Kashmir was an internal issue. Indias policies of curbing political space for Kashmiris by keeping the
massively popular Hurriyat leaders like Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Shabir Shah and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq
under constant and repeated detention has further damaged its reputation with the local population. In
September 2015, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) had invited Geelani to its annual meeting
of foreign ministers in New York India responded by suspending his passport for four weeks out of
concerns that he would have raised the Kashmir issue.
India has repeatedly used the Public Safety Act (PSA) deemed a lawless law by Amnesty International
to detain Kashmiri political leaders like Masrat Alam, who, on Dec. 31, 2015, was arrested for the 31st time
under the law. The detention came immediately after Alams release from jail following a High Court order
overturning his earlier detention under the same law. In 2015 alone, 634 people, of whom 231 were
students and 17 were minors, were arrested for anti-India demonstrations in Kashmir. The demolition of
the offices of the Kashmir University Students Union, the imposition of a ban on student politics, and the
repeated clampdown on internet and mobile SMS services have alienated Kashmiri youths in particular.

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While the Vajpayee government welcomed any opportunities for dialogue even allowing separatist
Hurriyat leaders to hold talks with Pakistan the current Modi government has taken a different
approach. Modi has prohibited the Hurriyat leaders from meeting with Pakistani officials, citing the
prohibition as a pre-condition for talks with Pakistan. This resulted in the cancellation of a meeting
between the national security advisers of the two countries after Pakistan rejected the pre-condition. To
many Kashmiris, Indias insistence on this pre-condition seemed to embody an effort to deny them a voice
in the dispute. The repeated calls by various civil society and human rights groups for the repeal of
draconian laws such as the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) which gives sweeping impunity
to the armed forces of India operating in Kashmir have been met with a cold shoulder, as the Indian
army has staunchly opposed any attempts to repeal it.
These kinds of reprehensible policies that the Indian establishment says are important to maintain peace
in Kashmir have produced a disaffected Kashmiri population. And although it may appear to have
strengthened its hold, India is losing popular support in Kashmir by sticking to its policy of focusing solely
on economic development while maintaining the security status quo. In a vivid illustration of the
problem, just a day after Indian Prime Minister Modi visited Kashmir last November and unveiled a $12
billion economic development package for the state, a 22-year-old Kashmiri man, Gowhar Nazir Dar, was
killed by the Central Reserve Police Force. The resulting demonstrations carried on for days, with
protesters across Kashmir combining to outnumber the attendees of the rally where Modi spoke.

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At a time when the Islamic State is threatening to expand into Kashmir


even though it has found no
buyers there for its message, thus far there still remains a chance that the angry and agitated people who
turn out in huge numbers at militant funerals could fall prey to its propaganda in order to fight the Indian
establishment. For India to end this long quagmire of armed conflict with Kashmiris, it must shift away
from its current policy and allow political space for Kashmiris. It should repeal its draconian laws like the
Armed Forces (Special Powers) Actand the Public Safety Actand punish soldiers involved in human rights
violations. And, finally, India should work with Kashmiris and Pakistan alike to reach a viable solution so
that peace may prevail. But until India realizes the damage it has done, the streets of Kashmir will
reverberate with chants in support of its supposed martyrs, much like they did during the funeral
procession of Abu Qasim.
Waseem Andrabi/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

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Rahman Nizami Loses Death Sentence
Final Appeal
BY ALBERT FORD , SHUJA MALIK

MAY 5, 2016

Pakistan

Village elders order death of 16 year-old Pakistani girl


A 15-member jirga, a decision-making body composed of elders, in Pakistans Abbottabad district ordered
the death of a 16 year-old, Amber, who helped a friend escape from their village of Makol so as to marry
someone of her own choosing (Dawn, BBC). After a six-hour jirga on the night of April 28, Amber was
forcibly taken from her home, drugged, and killed. Her remains were found in a torched van in Donga Gali
on Friday. Speaking to DawnNews, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) MPA Shaukat Yousafzai said, This is
the first time an incident of this type has taken place. According to Pakistani police, 13 people have been
arrested.

Pakistan may buy fighter jets from Russia, China after U.S. deal falters
After the U.S. Congress denied the use of U.S. funds to subsidize the sale of eight F-16 fighter jets to
Pakistan, Pakistan is reportedly exploring alternative options, such as the Russian SU35 and the Chinese
J10 and J20 stealth fighters, according to a senior foreign ministry official (FT). A former Pakistani Air
Force general said, Even if this immediate matter (the U.S.-Pakistan F-16 predicament) is resolved, no one
in Islamabad will trust the Americans. I fear the feeling in Pakistans policy circles is increasingly to go to
the Russians and the Chinese for other planes that come with a more reliable supply assurance.

Afghan citizens to be forced from Khyber Agency

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Afghan citizens who fled their home country to settle in Pakistans western Khyber Agency have been told
by to leave and return to Afghanistan (PT, TOLO) out of concerns of their links to Afghan terrorists
sheltering in Pakistan. Col. Naeemullah, a commander of Khyber Pakhtunkhwas Swat Scouts, said, Most
terrorists came from Afghanistan and local helpers provided them with weapons and shelter in Khyber
Agency to launch attacks in Pakistan. He added, Pakistan provided shelter to the Afghan citizens during
the Russian occupation of Afghanistan, but now they need to go back to their home country as they are not
loyal to Pakistan.
Afghanistan

Bonus Read: Despite billions in U.S. funding, Afghan forces have a problem with boots, by Tim Craig
(Post)
Bonus Read: The man who helped save Afghanistans treasures from ravages of war, by Sune Engel
Rasmussen (Guardian)
Uruzgan-Kandahar highway insecurity may lead to deputy police chiefs sacking
Last week, dozens of police checkpoints along the 100 mile-long highway that runs between Tarin Kot in
Uruzgan and Kandahar were overrun by the Taliban, prompting claims that their loss was a deliberate
action by Rahimullah Khan, the Uruzgan deputy police chief (GlobalPost/AFP). According to Martine van
Bijlert, co-director of the Afghan Analysts Network, With Rahimullah there have been a lot of complaints
that he intentionally gave up security posts in an effort to undermine (his superiors) and to strengthen
his own position. Rahimullah, from Uruzgans dominant Popalzai tribe, has been a major provincial
powerbroker for years, and his dismissal from his post could lead to further instability. Haji Khoda Raham
Khan, a well-known tribal leader and Rahimullahs uncle, said to AFP, There will be bloodshed inside
Tarin Kot if the government goes ahead with his dismissal. This is a conspiracy to take back power from
Popalzais. Without Rahimullah there will be anarchy.

Helmand offensive on hold due to lack of direction from Ghani

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According to Tolo News, military officials and provincial leaders in Afghanistans Helmand province are
concerned over the lack of direction and war-plan implementation from President Ashraf Ghani (TOLO).
Karim Attal, a Helmand provincial council leader, said, The President is different in action and speech
and he is not putting his words into practice and it means he is kicking dust in peoples eyes. Helmand is
one of Afghanistans most contested provinces, as the Taliban reportedly control multiple districts
throughout.
India

Bonus Read: Indias long wait for justice: 27m court cases trapped in legal logjam, by Vidhi Doshi
(Guardian)
Lok Sabha passes Finance bill
The lower house of the Indian parliament, Lok Sabha, on Thursday approved legislation giving the central
bank a mandate to target inflation through monetary policy (Reuters, LiveMint). The bill, which is being
called the Finance Bill, sets up a seven-member monetary policy panel that will include three
representatives of the government, three representatives of the central bank and the governor of the
Reserve Bank of India. The panel will set interest rates through a majority vote, a practice followed by
major central banks globally. At present, the governor of the Reserve Bank of India is the sole authority to
decide monetary policy. The panel will be reviewing inflation targets every five years.

Life sentences for murderers of Mumbais heroes

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Four men were sentenced to death on Thursday by a court in Mumbai for the 2011 killings of Keenan
Santos and Reuben Fernandez who had tried to protect their female friends from being molested (BBC,
TOI, Hindu). Santos, 24, and Fernandez, 29, dubbed as Mumbais real heroes, were stabbed to death in
October 2011 as they attempted to fight off men harassing their female friends, who were trying to use a
public restroom at a restaurant. The issue of sexual assault has been in the spotlight in India since a 23
year-old student was gang-raped and murdered on a bus in Delhi in December 2012. The case prompted
tightening of Indias laws on sexual violence but analysts say tougher laws have failed to bring down the
number of rape cases.
Bangladesh

Islamist leader Motiur Rahman Nizami loses death sentence final appeal
Bangladeshs Supreme Court on Thursday rejected a final appeal by the head of countrys largest Islamist
party, Motiur Rahman Nizami, against his death sentence for atrocities committed during the war of
independence from Pakistan in 1971 (BBC, Reuters). Nizami, 72, was seeking a review of the Supreme Court
decision to uphold a war crimes tribunal verdict that convicted him of genocide, rape, and torture. His
party, Jammat-i-Islami, has called for countrywide strikes and will hold street protests on Sunday.
Nizamis only recourse now is to seek clemency from the President of Bangladesh, but many believe it is
unlikely to be granted.

Albert Ford and Shuja Malik


Edited by Peter Bergen

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