MUSLIM HATE IN KASHMIR
 

For 69 years, Kashmir torn by deadly strife

July 24, 2016

Associated Press

SRINAGAR, India –  When news spread that Indian troops on July 8 had killed 22-year-old Burhan Wani, a charismatic commander of Indian-controlled Kashmir's biggest rebel group, the public response was spontaneous and massive. Tens of thousands of angry youths poured out of their homes in towns and villages across the Himalayan region, hurling rocks and bricks and clashing with Indian troops.


A curfew and a communications blackout has failed to stop the protests. The violence has left 48 civilians dead as government forces fired live ammunition and pellets to try to quell the unrest. About 2,000 civilians and 1,500 police and soldiers have been injured in the clashes.


But Kashmir's fury at Indian rule is not new. The stunning mountain region has known little other than conflict since 1947, when British rule of the subcontinent ended with the creation of India and Pakistan.

THE HISTORY

The Himalayan kingdom of Jammu and Kashmir was asked to become part of one of the two newly independent nations. But Maharaja Hari Singh, the unpopular Hindu ruler of the Muslim-majority region, wanted to stay independent.


A raid by tribesmen from northwestern Pakistan forced Singh to seek help from India, which offered military assistance on condition that the kingdom accede to India. The ruler accepted, but insisted that Kashmir remain a largely autonomous state within the Indian union, with India managing its foreign affairs, defense and telecommunications.


The Indian military entered the region soon after, and the tribal raid spiraled into the first of two wars between India and Pakistan over Kashmir. The war ended in 1948 with a U.N.-brokered cease-fire. Nonetheless, Kashmir became divided between the two young nations by a heavily militarized Line of Control, with the promise of a U.N.-sponsored referendum in the future.


In Indian-controlled Kashmir, many saw the transition as the mere transfer of power from their Hindu king to Hindu-majority India. Kashmiri discontent against India started taking root as successive Indian governments breached the pact of Kashmir's autonomy. Local governments were toppled one after another, and largely peaceful movements against Indian control were curbed harshly.


Pakistan continued raising the Kashmir dispute in international forums, including in the U.N. India began calling the region its integral part, saying that Kashmir's lawmakers had ratified the accession to New Delhi.


As the deadlock persisted, India and Pakistan went to war again in 1965, with little changing on the ground. Several rounds of talks followed, but the impasse continued.


In the mid-1980s, dissident political groups in Indian Kashmir united and contested elections for the state assembly. The Muslim United Front quickly emerged as a formidable force against Kashmir's pro-India political elite. However, the front lost the 1987 election, widely believed to have been heavily rigged.


A strong public backlash followed. Some young MUF activists crossed over to Pakistan-controlled Kashmir, where the Pakistani military began arming and training Kashmiri nationalists.


By 1989, Kashmir was in the throes of a full-blown rebellion.


India poured more troops into the already heavily militarized region. In response, thousands of Kashmiris streamed back from the Pakistani-controlled portion with guns and grenades. More than 68,000 people have been killed since then.


Though the militancy waned, popular sentiment for "azadi," or freedom, has remained ingrained in the Kashmiri psyche. In the last decade, the region has made a transition from armed rebellion to unarmed uprisings as tens of thousands of civilians frequently take to the streets to protest Indian rule, often leading to clashes between rock-throwing residents and Indian troops. The protests are usually quelled by force, often resulting in deaths.


RECENT DEVELOPMENTS


In 2008, a government decision — later revoked — to transfer land to a Hindu shrine in Kashmir set off a summer of protests. The following year, the alleged rape and murder of two young women by government forces set off fresh violence.


In 2010, the trigger for protests was a police investigation into allegations that soldiers shot dead three civilians and then staged a fake gunbattle to make it appear that the dead were militants, in order to claim rewards for the killings.


In all three years, hundreds of thousands of young men and women took to the streets, hurling rocks and abuse at Indian forces. At least 200 people were killed and hundreds wounded as troops fired into the crowds, inciting further protests.


The crackdown appears to be pushing many educated young Kashmiris, who grew up politically radicalized amid decades of brutal conflict, toward armed rebel groups. Young Kashmiri boys began snatching weapons from Indian forces and training themselves deep inside Kashmir's forests.


The number of militants has, however, remained minuscule, not crossing 200 in the last several years.


ANTI-INDIA GROUPS


The All Parties Hurriyat Conference is a conglomerate of social, religious and political groups formed in 1993. It advocates the U.N.-sponsored right to self-determination for Kashmir or tripartite talks among India, Pakistan and Kashmiri leadership to resolve the dispute.


The Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front was one of the first armed rebel groups. It favors an independent, united Kashmir. Currently led by Mohammed Yasin Malik, the group gave up armed rebellion in 1994, soon after Indian authorities released Malik from jail after four years.


Hizbul Mujahideen is Kashmir's largest and only surviving indigenous armed rebel group. Formed in 1990, the group demands Kashmir's merger with Pakistan. Its supreme commander, Syed Salahuddin, is based in Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistan-controlled Kashmir. The group was led in Indian Kashmir by Burhan Wani until his death on July 8.


The Lashkar-e-Taiba is a Pakistan-based group fighting for Indian Kashmir's merger with Pakistan. The United States lists it as a terrorist group. Its leader, Hafiz Saeed, is on a U.S. terrorist list, with a $10 million bounty on his head. He's also one of India's most wanted men. New Delhi blames the group for several deadly attacks in Kashmir and Indian cities, including the 2008 Mumbai attack that killed 166 people.


PRO-INDIA GROUPS


The Jammu Kashmir National Conference is a pro-India political group that has ruled Kashmir for the most part since 1947. Its most recent leaders, Farooq Abdullah and his son Omar Abdullah, the current opposition leader in the state assembly, are seen as the strongest proponents of India in Kashmir.


The Jammu Kashmir Peoples Democratic Party emerged in the early 2000s as the strongest opponent to the National Conference, strategically using pro-separatist views for electoral gains. It soon came to power in 2002. It currently rules Indian Kashmir in coalition with India's ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party.



ISIS ready to expand its ‘caliphate’ to Kashmir

Published at 23/01/2016
Rising Kashmir

The head of a regional affiliate of the Islamic State (IS) has said militants in Kashmir have pledged allegiance to the group, providing it a “big opportunity” to expand its “caliphate” to the area.

Hafiz Saeed Khan – who was named the IS chief for Khurasan, the historic name for the area encompassing Afghanistan, Pakistan and parts of India, almost a year ago – made the claim during an interview to the group’s online magazine Dabiq.

Khan, who has reportedly survived two drone strikes, including one earlier this month, was responding to a question on whether the IS is “capable of expanding to Kashmir to fight the cow-worshipping Hindus”.

He accused Pakistan’s army and intelligence set-up of exploiting “various Islamic’ organisations on the issue of Kashmir for their despicable personal interests” and contended there was no one to save the Kashmiri people “from the quagmire into which they were thrown”.

“Because of this, many of the people of Kashmir and the soldiers of the factions left and made hijrah to Wilayat Khurasan...Thus, there’s a big opportunity, with Allah’s permission, to establish the religion of Allah there and for the Islamic State to expand to it,” Khan said.

Without giving details, Khan said the IS has made “specific arrangements” in Kashmir and “the Muslims will soon hear pleasant news about the Khilafah’s expansion to those lands”.


Violent protests rock Kashmir on Eid

Last updated on: July 18, 2015
Rediff news

Protests rocked parts of Kashmir Valley including Srinagar on Saturday where Pakistan and Islamic State flags were yet again displayed by masked youths after Eid prayers.

Authorities placed senior separatist leaders including the moderate All Parties Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Moulvi Umar Farooq, hardline separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani and pro-independence Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front chairman Yasin Malik under house arrest. They were not allowed to offer Eid prayers as the atmosphere was volatile.

Slogan shouting youths took to streets in the Eidgah area of Srinagar immediately after the prayers and indulged in heavy stone pelting. They clashed with the police and Central Reserve Police Force troopers.

Eidgah was the venue of the largest Eid congregation and was supposed to be addressed by Mirwaiz Moulvi Umar Farooq.

Security force fired dozens of tear smoke shells and resorted to repeated baton charges to disperse the protestors who, however, continued to regroup.

Protests also erupted in Lal Chowk and uptown Barzalla area of Srinagar prompting police to use baton charges to restore order.

In south Kashmir’s Anantnag town, angry protestors clashed with security forces after the prayers. Sources said some vehicles were damaged. Police had to resort to tear gas shelling in the town. Protestors were lathi-charged in north Kashmir’s Sogam town of Kupwara district.

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed and opposition National Conference working president Omar Abdullah offered prayers at the Hazratbal shrine.


Kashmir violence not to hurt ties with Pakistan, says PM


NEW DELHI: India will not allow attacks by militants known to have their bases in Pakistan to hurt a peace process with Islamabad, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said here.

But efforts to make peace with the old enemy would succeed only if Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf keeps his promise to curb anti-Indian guerrillas operating from areas under Islamabad’s control, he said on Tuesday.

Singh’s comments came a week after suspected militants set off three bombs in one of India’s holiest Hindu cities, Varanasi, killing 23 people and wounding dozens.

A previously unknown group, Lashkar-e-Kahar, claimed the attack but police and security experts said the outfit was likely a front for Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba.

“The continued provocation by terrorists will not weaken our resolve to build a normal relationship with this important neighbour or our resolve to deal with those who wage war against innocents and attack the secular fabric of our state,” Singh told parliament.

“We are committed to the resolution of all outstanding issues with Pakistan including the issue of Jammu and Kashmir through dialogue and consultation,” he said.

The prime minister did not mention the Varanasi bombings or name Lashkar but analysts have said in the past that frequent attacks blamed on Pakistan-based militant groups — fighting Indian rule in Kashmir — weigh heavily on a wobbly peace process between the neighbours.

India blames Pakistan of aiding a 16-year revolt against its rule in Kashmir, where more than 45,000 people have been killed in separatist violence so far.

Pakistan denies the charge and says it has done all it could to stop militants. Ties between the two countries have improved significantly since they launched moves to make peace in mid-2003 after coming close to another war.

But they are yet to achieve a breakthrough on the territorial dispute over Kashmir, at the heart of their rivalry, and militant attacks are seen as attempts to scuttle peace moves.

l At least eight people were hurt yesterday when riot police baton-charged survivors of last October’s earthquake in Kashmir who were demanding more financial help, police said.

Several hundred protesters blocked the main highway in northern Baramulla district to demonstrate against what they said was “inadequate monetary compensation” to erect new houses and to renovate damaged ones.

Police fired several warning shots in the air but did not succeed in dispersing the protesters.

“We had to resort to baton-charging and firing teargas shells to disperse them and make way for traffic,” a police officer said, adding eight people received minor injuries in the police action.

Residents said over a dozen were injured. The October 8 earthquake killed 74,000 people in Pakistan and its zone of Kashmir and more than 1,300 in Indian Kashmir. – AFP
 

Violence in Kashmir Leaves 35 People Dead

Wave of Violence by Islamic Militants Aimed at Hindu Minority in Kashmir Leaves 35 People Dead
By BINOO JOSHI
The Associated Press

DODA, India - A wave of violence by Islamic militants aimed at Indian-controlled Kashmir's Hindu minority has left 35 dead, police said Monday, days ahead of a planned meeting between the divided region's political separatists and India's prime minister.

In one village, militants disguised as soldiers coaxed residents from their homes and then gunned down 22 of them the single bloodiest attack by Islamic guerrillas in Kashmir since a 2003 cease-fire between India and Pakistan.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh suggested the killings would not hamper efforts to find peace in the Himalayan region divided between India and Pakistan.

"People of Kashmir have rejected and rebuffed terrorists repeatedly," Singh said.

India has repeatedly accused Pakistan of backing the militants, even as the two countries have talked peace. Singh, however, stopped short of blaming Islamabad for the attack.

A spokeswoman for Pakistan's Foreign Ministry, Tasnim Aslam, said the killings were "an act of terrorism and we condemn it."

Witnesses said more than a half-dozen assailants, some of them in army uniforms, slipped into the village of Thava after dark Sunday and, using local guides, told villagers they had come to meet residents.

"When we assembled outside the home of the village head ... they showered bullets on us," said Gyan Chand, one of five people wounded in the attack. He spoke from a hospital in the town of Doda, near Thava, some 600 miles north of India's capital, New Delhi.

Following the attack, survivors rushed to alert the army, but the assailants fled before security forces arrived, said Sheesh Pal Vaid, a police inspector-general.

For centuries, Kashmir's Hindus known as Pandits lived peacefully alongside the region's Muslim majority.

But the Pandits have been targeted relentlessly by Islamic insurgents who have been fighting since 1989 to wrest Kashmir from largely Hindu India. Most have fled, many to squalid refugee camps in safer parts of India. An estimated 2,000 Pandits have been killed in the insurgency, which has claimed nearly 67,000 lives.

The remaining 25,000 Pandits in Kashmir a tenth of the pre-insurgency population are subject to frequent attacks, and many live in fear.

"Anything can strike us anytime. It is frightening, but life goes on," said B. L. Warikoo, a Pandit in Srinagar, summer capital of India's part of Kashmir.

Hours before the village attack, police found the first four bodies of at least 13 Hindu shepherds abducted over the weekend in Kashmir's Udhampur district.

Islamic militants have been blamed for the abductions, and authorities found the bodies of nine more shepherds Monday, said a senior police officer, Rajesh Singh.

A leader of Kashmir's political separatist movement, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, called the attack on the village "a deplorable and heinous act."

His group, the All Parties Hurriyat Conference, is to take part in a previously planned meeting Wednesday between Kashmiri political separatists and Singh.

"I hope we are able to find a way out of this mindless death and destruction," Farooq said.

While there was no immediate claim of responsibility, Vaid called the killings "a terrorist attack" a clear indication that authorities were blaming Islamic militants.

The state's deputy chief minister, Muzaffar Hussain Beig, said the "terrorists" were "bent upon marring the fragile peace and security in the region. But the peace process is irreversible and cannot be sabotaged."

However, the largest Islamic militant group, Hezb-ul-Mujahedeen, claimed in a statement to Kashmir's Current News Service that Indian intelligence agents carried out the killings as an "attempt to defame the" insurgents.

 

Kashmir chief's surprise resignation

July 7, 2008

SRINAGAR, Indian-controlled Kashmir (CNN) -- The top Indian elected leader in Kashmir resigned Monday after weeks of protests that have left seven people dead.

Some assembly members had expected Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad to ask for a vote of confidence and he seemed to surprise everyone when he announced: "I am resigning."

Azad made the announcement during a 90-minute speech to a special session of the state assembly.

During the speech Azad focused mostly on his efforts to bring peace and normalcy to the troubled region during his 31 months in the post.

Kashmir -- a predominantly Muslim region that has seen frequent battles -- faced a new wave of violence when the government announced last month it would transfer forest land to a Hindu shrine board that manages an annual pilgrimage.

Muslim groups protested the move and clashes erupted. When the government announced it was canceling the planned transfer, there were more clashes -- this time involving Hindus angry at the cancellation.

The news agency Press Trust of India, partly owned by the Indian government, reported Monday that a seventh person died from injuries sustained amid the violence -- a protester who had been wounded in a grenade attack during a rally.

Government officials have also said 400 people were injured in the violence.

The People's Democratic Party (PDP), a key alliance partner for the region's ruling coalition, announced that it was withdrawing its support.

Some members of the assembly expected Azad to seek a vote of confidence in the wake of the PDP's decision.

Kashmir is now likely to be placed under gubernatorial rule before elections for the next state assembly in October.

Both India and Pakistan control parts of the 86,000-square-mile region of Kashmir.

The two nations have fought two wars over the region. China also controls a part of Kashmir.

For the past 18 years, Kashmir also has been wracked by a bloody separatist campaign.

Authorities say 43,000 people have been killed in violence. Some human rights groups and non-governmental organizations estimate the death toll at twice that figure.

 

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