Is India failing to win hearts and minds in Kashmir?

May 7, 2009

Is India pushing the ordinary Kashmiri people further away by enforcing regular curfews, putting most of their separatist leaders under house arrest and denying them religious freedom by banning Friday prayers in Kashmir’s Jamia Masjid (grand mosque) on a regular basis to avoid violence?

I travelled to Srinagar, the summer capital of India’s troubled state of Jammu and Kashmir this week, and saw how people were tired of violence and wanted peace and dignity in the region.

Many told me how they felt unhappy each time an incident of violence in a remote corner of the city would scare authorities into shutting down the city and forced them to stay indoors, many without any provisions.

The majority of people in Kashmir appear tired of the 20-year-old violence, involving militants and Indian troops, which has declined significantly — with almost no major attacks in the main city of Srinagar for more than a year now.

Having tasted peace for a while now, people in Srinagar want to spend time near the Dal Lake or travel to a picturesque location with their families, instead of being locked up in their homes.

Industry heads and businessmen I spoke to recollect their endless meetings with Indian ministers, requesting them to do more to restore confidence of potential investors to boost the handicraft, horticulture and tourism sectors.

Many bookshop owners, fruit sellers and students I talked to want the All Parties Hurriyat (Freedom) Conference, the main separatist alliance in the disputed region, to hold talks with the government.

Some separatist leaders admit that talks can help their cause.

“With militancy down, this is the perfect opportunity for talks and the onus is on India now to take advantage and resolve the Kashmir dispute once and for all,” Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq told Reuters.

Could this be the right time to hold talks with the separatists to resolve the Kashmir crisis? And do Indian authorities agree?


We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see

Yes offcourse India has failed to win the hearts and minds of the Kashmiri people because there want to finish Kashmiris and bury the Independence Movement.
(Kashmir banega Pakistan)

Posted by Moaaz Awan | Report as abusive

Many bookshop owners, fruit sellers and students I talked to want the All Parties Hurriyat (Freedom) Conference, the main separatist alliance in the disputed region, to hold talks with the government.

This same “Conference” are the ones who turn a sympathetic ear to those causing the militant violence. There is quiet for the time being in Kashmir probably due to what is happening across the border in Pakistan. Where are those people who had their “Let-us-cry-out-with-one-voice-AZAD” march; waving Pakistani flags and singing about how Indians can starve and be naked? They do not want to show their faces; that they are sympathetic to Pakistan by waving the Pakistan flag. Kashmiris do not want their towns and villages invaded by the Taliban like in Swat and Bunar.

Pakistan does not look too rosy anymore.

Sure businesses can open and new industries can be started up, but the All Parties Hurriyat better make sure no terrorist attacks occur.

Posted by bulletfish | Report as abusive

Kashmir is having issues and is a part of India. The solution therefore seems to be a freedom for the state from India, which all kashmiris apparently loath. Errr, really ??

Of course its true that every person staying in this strife torn place is utterly fedup and wants a stop to be put to this nonsense. Even if I go just with the data in this article, there are three parties, the militants, the residents and the government.

The \”Kashmir Issue\”, \”Kashmir Dispute\” etc, the topic of which China/Pakistan are big fans – to me seems to boil down to a situation where the residents possibly no longer care for which country they belong to, as long as there is no strife. The militants, misguided zeal at best, are nothing more than paid agents to be anti-establishment. India stands to loose a lot (people/land) if kashmir were to become independent. Now apparently, the only people to benefit from this \”freedom struggle\” are not the kashmiri\’s, but our friendly neighbours.

any other thoughts ?

Posted by Arun Prasad | Report as abusive

India should follow Sri Lanka in tackling rebellions. India is bigger than Sri Lanka in all resources but motivation to solve the problem.

20 years is not enough a time for India to solve the Kashmir problem, it appears. The violence in Kashmir has led as an example for Separatists in other parts ofthe country, which the government has failed to realize.

The Government is busy with elections and agendas such as Ram Mandir, Reservations etc forgetting the primary responsibilty of safeguarding the Territories. Even an inch of land lost should not be tolerated , forget the whole State. India happilly lets its land being disputed and snatched by countries like China and Pakistan, and has no or atleast shows no potential to curb infiltration.

I know there are many issues other than infiltration, terrorism and Kashmir, but these should be given the top priority. To who does it make a sense to live in a place where people are not safe and the country takes insufficient actions to safeguard its territories. “Bharat Mata ki ek inch ka bhi nuksaan bardaasht nahin hai”

Posted by rajesh | Report as abusive

The Kashmir problem & it’s resolution has to be exaimned in a historical perspective. Faced with a tribal invasion from Pakistan,India obtained a limited accession from erstwhile ruler of Kashmir under duress & made a promise of Granting right of selfdetermination to the people of Kashmir.India renedged on the promise and is holding Kashmir by sheer military power. Since 1947,almost two lac Kashmiris have been killed by Indian security forces. It’s economy has been shattered & population reduced to mere slaves. In this endaveour they have been helped by self appointed leaders like Bhakshis, Abdullahs, Azads & Muftis.There can be no permanent solution to this festering problem unless India & Pakistan sit along with geneuine leaders of Kashmir & thrash a mutually workable solution

Posted by Abdul Majid Zargar | Report as abusive

If Kashmiris want peace, they have to decide what they want? As demonstrated in Amarnath agitation, they don’t want India. Now, if the don’t want Pakistan as well, then they are really heading for misery and crisis. The Hurriyat Conference is bunch of self-serving fools, who keep shouting Azadi with no clear idea of what they want. Do Kashmiris want freedom, where they are cutoff from rest of the world in a tiny ghetto? Do they want to be another Afghanistan; war-ravaged and so poor that the only recourse common man has is to do poppy farming which in turn funds Taliban and the rest?

The bitter part of this whole mess is, that Half the population of the state of “Jammu” & Kashmir; that is Jammu and Ladakh have already made their choice. They want India (again refer Amarnath Agitation), but due to petty politics they have been clubbed together with Kashmiris and share the same fate. I have no sympathy for Kashmiris who are reaping what they sowed over past 3 decades. World keeps forgetting that it was these Kashmiris who silently watched/approved Ethnic Cleansing of Kashmiri Pandits being done by the terrorists ( enocide.html). Its the people in Jammu and Ladakh I am more worried about.

Posted by webnarad | Report as abusive

the parties should come forward with developmental plans for people innstead of greed for power anrkkd positions.

Posted by roger | Report as abusive

Kashmir never wants to go with pakistan, we always wanted to be independent but if a choice is given b/w india and pakistan,people will go with pakistan. What ha given us—–blood of 1 lakh kashmiri’s since 1947. Kashmiris will never give up their struggle,no matter what.

India had never won the hearts and minds of the Kashmiri people. and how can they, after all no occupational force can win the heart of the occupied people. by locking the entire Kashmir, India is enacting the drama of elections and then terming it as the voice of common Kashmiri. It will only lead to more death and destruction. If peace is to be restored Kashmiris must be given the right to Self determination. Otherwise, whether militancy will survive or not, the struggle for Kashmir’s Freedom from India will surely live.

Posted by Ahmad Kashmiri | Report as abusive

At a time when Pakistan itself is on the brink of breaking up,, Kashmiris’ support of annexing themselves with Pak is rather amusing. We Kashmiris have lost it. The Pakistanis are with us as long as they can rub salt into India’s wounds. We must remember what they did in Gilgit and Baltistan. They’re an elitist state, dominated by the Punjabis. We must not confuse out Nationalism with our inert desire for hating India. The Pakistanis wont give us and our children better lives after all. I wont go there just because I hate India. Instead the Pakistanis sending Pashtun militias into Gilgit and Baltistan is much worse. They get all the Hydro Power from rivers in the other side without paying a penny to Kashmiris there. The ISI hounds leaders there. They have no love for us, They just love to hate India

Posted by Amjad Khan | Report as abusive

I do not think anybody has got tired in Kashmir. if people have left violence, but they have taken non violent means to fight for the movement.

Reagrding peace, i think in Kashmiri context, it has become a “myth”. There are two versions. One people want peace in context of solution of Kashmir issue- end of Indian occupation or some settlement outside the ambit of indian constitution.

The people say kashmiris have a legal basis to decide their fate. Unlike Srilanka where LTTE had illegally held srinlankan parts and demand seprate parts.

Second, peace as described by state- end of militancy. This state sponsored peace was blown into shreds when thousnads of people came on streets last year.

Surprisngly, i found the article more grounded on business men rather on common masses, who in no way represent kashmir.

India has failed to win hearts and mind of people, because they have shown no seriousnes to solve kashmir issue. They have taken only cosmetic measures like propgating “peace” and “development”.

So the population in Kashmir would remain hostile to India as it has been in the past.

As far as Paksitan is concerned, it is legally a party in the kashmir solution. A reality that every indian has to accept.

More so, Kashmiris are not bothered about buner and swat. They say when Sri lanka could fight out Tamil terrorists after 23 years why not Pakistan. when Indians 40 percent of land is under naxalas and other sepratist movement, why Pkaistan can not restore its parts with military technology equivalent to India….

Reagrding rosy picture, every kashmiri is puzzled why every tenth paksitani has a car and every third has a mobile phone. no infant deaths, no farmer sucicdes and no body sleeping under roofless skies.

Hence Kashmiris would contnue to fight untill Kashmir resolution. Untill the, whatever India invests in peace without solving the core issue would prove futile.

Posted by wasim | Report as abusive

if india call itself largest democracy in world,why it does not give people of kashmir deside their fate.india is oppressing people of kashmir since cagging people in their homes will never kill conscious.elections are part of indian drama to show the world its illegitimate occupation of kashmir as legitimate.

Posted by reyan | Report as abusive


Posted by kashmiri | Report as abusive

Kashmir belongs to India. If Kashmiris feel safe elswhere in the world, they are free to emigrate. But India will never give up Kashmir, even if it leads to its peril.

Posted by Vikram | Report as abusive

I believe that most important quality in a human being is being human.
We need to set aside ideologies, religious beliefs & nationalism to look at what the people from Kashmir want.
Like most humanity my guess is that they would like to be able to feed their families, give good education to their children, having 24 hour running clean water, 24 hour electricity without having to worry about safety of their lives/property.
In order to do that Kashmiris can decide whether they can achieve it on their own or ride the tide with India or perhaps share the future with Pakistan where things look so bleak.
They need to be persuaded by arguments/ discussion and diplomacy & not by force.

Growing GDP, improving living conditions in India (not at PAR with the second world yet)but still improving would or can convince Kashmiris whether they would be better off being a part of India or being separate.
If the Kashmiris would think selfishly they may be able to realize in order to achieve peace & stability. They also need commerce & thriving business. Besides tourism & logging I do not see that they can sustain growth on their own & therefore would need help & encouragement. For their own prosperity my suggestion to the senior leadership would be to convince Kashmiris that they do not have to love other states of India but can be civil & throw in their lot with India ( For a better Kashmir!).

My best wishes to all Kashmiris for a prosperous & safe future.

Posted by Shikha | Report as abusive

We indians have spent billions trying to make kashmire part of india but apparently we have failed. we have many slumdog millioniers to worry about. IF kashmires dont want to be part of indai then throw them out , if they wnat to be part of pakistan or independent then it should be allowed, Kashmire is holding INDIA back, we need to think about competing with china economically rather than worry about KASHMIRE or pakistan. I have met many kashmires and i believe many of my friends simple would choose to go with pakistan regardless of what the situation is in Pakistan, I am currently more worried about the moist insurencey in india and the TAmil problem in south India rather then Kashmire. I hope everything turns out well for all of us

Posted by malik | Report as abusive

@ all above from kashmiri degree student.

When a militant is killed in an encounter thousands march into streets, sloganeer in favour of freedom and lay the dead to rest before fighting against the troopers for the corpse. While as no one cares when a trooper is killed in any encounter. The alienation is deep rooted and so much strong that ‘buying’ shepherd won’t do, it may need to buy the cattle, which New Delhi will never allow to happen. Because that would mean giving up claims of having Kashmir as a proud possession and priceless crown (An overturned world map will show the existing position of Kashmir—a green Valley trampled under India’s feet.)

Guys this question was asked to a kashmiri pandit Professor Manohar Nath Tickoo. See what he replies?

Q4) How do you view the Kashmir problem?
A:- Kashmir is a very old issue which has mutated into a monster now. But it can be solved by sincere and honest leadership in India , Pakistan and Kashmir . Gimmicks like holding elections cannot be used to fade the reality of Kashmir being an unresolved issue. Holding election in the presence of half a million troops shows the level of legitimacy and the feigned democratic nature in Kashmir .
My personal opinion is that Kashmir issue is the issue of those who speak Kashmiri language. It should not be hyphenated or related to the other parts like Jammu and Ladakh; they have never been a relative part of Kashmir and had never any cultural, ethnic or communication links with Kashmir . Kashmir has its own history and it should be recognized as an independent state. It had never been a part of India or British India .

Posted by Rashid | Report as abusive

Develop Jammu and kashmir. Put some industries, complete the train project or in dubya’s words “Let’s do a Bangalore” is the simplest answer to terrorists all over the world and definitely for educated indian kashmiris who unlike POK kashmiris are educated and well to do. If they are in office they won’t come out during office hours to support a Hurriyat stupid sarcastic BANDH. Just like militancy, hurriyat’s support will decline.

Posted by Manas | Report as abusive

How long will India play tricks with Kashmiris?

we want freedon.

Voilence in Kashmir
From Jan. 1989 to February 28, 2009
Total Killings 92,739
Custodial Killings 6,954
Civilians Arrested 116,016
Structures Arsoned/Destroyed 105,682
Women Widowed 22,684
Children Orphaned 107,227
Women gang-raped / Molested 9,854

Shame on India

Why we don’t look for plebiscite and let people select what they want. What is Indian gaining with all this troubles in Kashmir except boosting it’s own ego? I am sure, India will retain Jammu and Ladakh after plebiscite and Kashmir (and POK) would opt for freedom from India and Pakistan. Let it be. We indians have lot many other geographical problems to solve. Let me provide more points and proofs to air my opinion. t_plebiscite_in_jammu_and_kashmir_and_le ts_free_kashmir_from_india_if_kashmir_ci tizen_gives_this_mandate_in_plebiscite

Find a better idea then a plebiscite!

60 years ago a few million of these Pakistan loving Mozzies opted their promised land, ever since they have been infilterating back into India having foresaken their beloved BD to dogs…..

Posted by vinny | Report as abusive

sky said
“How long will India play tricks with Kashmiris?

we want freedon.

Voilence in Kashmir
From Jan. 1989 to February 28, 2009
Total Killings 92,739
Custodial Killings 6,954
Civilians Arrested 116,016
Structures Arsoned/Destroyed 105,682
Women Widowed 22,684
Children Orphaned 107,227
Women gang-raped / Molested 9,854

Shame on India

these deaths were caused by pakistani militants. it is actually shame on pakistan. could you also, please count how many deaths has occurred in pakistan due to their own violent communal clashes ? I don’t believe pakistan has any credibility on anything.

Posted by vivek | Report as abusive

Bappa: In my view, the issue can never be resolved until the “separatists” give up their “separatists” tag…That needs to be the first step in resolving the crisis.

Below are my thoughts on several previous comments before:

@ Abdul Majid Zargar: First, it is important to get the history right. Please refer to the slides here on this link: ammu-kashmir-empowering-india/
And there really can be no serious talks under the shadow of a dagger or at gun-point. As long as terrorist violence continues, no meaningful resolution is possible.
If Kashmiris are serious about resolving the crisis, they must a] participate in the democratic process b] make sure that there is no ground-support for terrorists…


@ Muzi: Kashmiris will never give up their struggle,no matter what. Struggle for what? Independence – that is not an option (Pl. see slide 7 to get a legal perspective on this matter) and plebiscite cannot be held because Pakistan has been in violation of the agreement and has not withdrawn its troops for the past 60+ years.

So what is the struggle about? Integration with India? That would be a good thing to aim for…let us start with dismantling Article 370 – which prevents closer economic and socio-cultural integration of Kashmir with India.


@ Ahmad Kashmiri: Pl. remember that freedom from India is *not* an option – not in law, not in terms of situation on the ground. Such irresponsible statements is the main reason why the dispute has dragged on.
I do not doubt that Kashmiris have legitimate grievances…so do people in Assam, so do people in Maharashtra and so do those living in Tamil Nadu. Why cannot these matters be resolved through the ballot box? And please do not blame the politicians…they thrive because good, sensible people stay away from politics.

@ Amjad: Very insightful statement: “ They (Pakistanis) have no love for us, They just love to hate India


@ reyan: Please have a look at the link I have posted above and you will get an answer to your question.

@ Wasim: How is Pakistan “legally a party in the kashmir solution” – Can you please cite the relevant UN resolutions?

@ Rashid: Re. Kashmir “never being a part of India”, please have a look at slides 12 and 13 here: ammu-kashmir-empowering-india/ You may change your mind

(Kashmir banega Pakistan)
- Posted by Moaaz Awan

–MOoe relevant Qn is will “Kashmir banega Talibanistan”?POK, I mean.

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive

@They get all the Hydro Power from rivers in the other side without paying a penny to Kashmiris there. The ISI hounds leaders there. They have no love for us, They just love to hate India
- Posted by Amjad Khan

–Yes, the Mangla dam. Kashmiris in India need to think objectively–I know hard. But the only thing Pakistan can pretend is fellow Muslim brotherhood to make the Kashmiris emotional. If Pakistan’s “Muslim brotherhood” slogan for Kashmoris was real that was OK for the current Kashmiris. But have a look there is nothing like “Muslim brotherhood” for Pakistan establishment (people-people relation do not matter). Pakistan gifted a piece of POK–the Saksham Valley to China, killed Muslims in E. Pakistan & Balochistan. Just because of the happenings in India, you Kashmiris will chose Pakistan tells about how intelligent you are. Before Indian Army set foot in Kashmir, was not there peace. Why this happened is because of those foreign terrorists-the professional hardcore killers-who have not even been except to infiltrate and kill or die in encounters. These killers have not seen Kashmir and are fighting for Kashmir—how stupid can it be. Guys, if Pakistan stops this policy, the army will get back to their barracks and Kashmir will be peaceful. And I have not yet asked you Kashmiris to explain what you did or let it happen to your fellow Kashmiri HIndus. Or did you forget? If not for you think about your future generation—picture it. India is not heaven, but I am yet to see some good explanation from a Kashmori to be with pakistan. All those who have explanations say that India is the optioon for them. Now I hear this –we lost 1 lakh or 2 lakh Kashmiris. Guys, first get the # straight before you punch the keyboard.

Just browse the internet and you will find what’s happening inside POK. AZAD? Really with a Punjabi PM and terrorists wandering around, Pakistan leaching the natural resources of Pakistan–leaching because it hardly gives anything back to Kashmir. Amzad Khan knows the facts. If you do not know these facts you are not even ready for the referendum–given this knowledge. Have you guys ever compared how much India is spending on Kashmir. Get some facts straight. Because you faced bloodshed you will go to Pakistan. Dis you think that you will not be showered with flowers there. Pakistan atleast untill now has been unable to protect Pakistanis, let alone Kashmiris.

Get your facts straight and never ever forget that 500,000 Hindus fled Kashmir. Many died, raped and houses burnt. Do you Kashmiris take some moral responsibility for this.

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive

@More so, Kashmiris are not bothered about buner and swat. They say when Sri lanka could fight out Tamil terrorists after 23 years why not Pakistan. when Indians 40 percent of land is under naxalas and other sepratist movement, why Pkaistan can not restore its parts with military technology equivalent to India….

Reagrding rosy picture, every kashmiri is puzzled why every tenth paksitani has a car and every third has a mobile phone. no infant deaths, no farmer sucicdes and no body sleeping under roofless skies.

-posted by Wasim

–Do one favor as a Pakistani, wish well for them and leave them alone. Do not give them misleading informatiion 40% India under naxalites?–Are you in your right mind? Keep this propaganda website info with you. The best and the easy thing you can do is: Leave Kashmiris alone. You are the cause of their misery. DO not use Kashmiris as instruments to trash your hatred for India.

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive

@Kashmir has its own history and it should be recognized as an independent state. It had never been a part of India or British India .
- Posted by Rashid

-He needed to answer these questioins too:
Can Kashmir survive as an independent state? If yes, how, and how long? If not, why not?

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive

@They need to be persuaded by arguments/ discussion and diplomacy & not by force.
- Posted by Shikha

Shikha: Let us be clear. It is not right to say that force is used for persuading Kashmoris. Force is being used against the militants and Kashmiris are coming in crossfire.

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive

being born and brought up in kashmir, i truly believe that it wont be able to survive as an independent nation.
@ rajeev, saying that the kashmiris are just caught in between the crossfire between the indian armed forces and the militants is an understatement. there are graves human rights abuses by the indian forces which need to be checked by the indian government.

If Kashmir went on its own may god help Kashmeris ,they will be taken over by the war lord of Swatt valley .To carry out talibanisation of Kashmir ,then of India .Good Luck let them have it ,Yanks will have to give billions to Pakistan to stop Taliban taking over Kashmir.What about Kashmir occupied by China no one seems to mention that ? Chineese seems to be loving it ,let India and Pakistan fight for ever so that we dont have to worry about India Rising .

Posted by Vivek | Report as abusive

Can someone tell why no one has come back with my earlier question what about chineense occupied Kashmir are they too afraid to mention that part of Kashmir ,just in case if they upset the chineense .If they wnat to resovle the Kashmir issue the fair election should be held all over Kashmir .POK ,Jammu and Kashmir ,Ladakh and aksai chin ,china occupied Kashmir given to them by Pakistan in gratis,then only we can resovlve the issue in a fair manner .

Posted by Vivek | Report as abusive

Talks and open dialog is a great way to start but what India needs to do in all these states across India which are upset and dont want to be a part of India is to make them feel that they are very much part of India. One good way is to spends Billions$ in development projects. This will improve living standards in all these states, create jobs etc. Once people have a good life they will be less interested in fighting as now they have something to look fwd to, a positive outlook in life and a bright future for their kids. At the moment its all negative and they see no hope and thus they fight.
Look how China is developing Tibet region. Unfortunately due to massive culture of corruption in India we don’t see any real development in most of India. We just hear about a few cities and states like Delhi, Mumbai (Bombay), Bangalore, Hyderabad. Only a fraction of India’s populations lives in these places. Rest of India is left largely ignored. Even if funds are put aside for development, very often a project starts and never ends with cost overruns or pure corruption where one will see development funds disappear. There is no system of accountability or enforcement of laws in India. It’s all written in books or heard in political speeches during election time. It’s a Joke!
As for some peoples comments that Kashmir should have sated Independent nation during independence from U.K. That might be true but we need to get realistic in the year 2009. We are not going back in time. Kashmir is part of India weather you like it or not and no nation on earth will just give up its territory. Especially when they are a nation of over 1 Billion people with scarce land.
If everyone started going back in time talking about “should have or could have” then I am sure many Indians will say there should only be one India. No Pakistan. No partition. These are just hypothetical’s and far from today’s reality. We need to work with what we have today and build a strong, developed and united nation for all people.

Posted by Rajeev | Report as abusive

ACCORDING TO UNHCR IT IS NOT .,463a f2212,469f2dcf2,487ca21a2a,0.html

According to UNHCR : pak occupied Kashmir has worse (or higher)
“Political Rights Score” and “Civil Liberties Score” than Indian Kashmir

[Lower score is better . eg. Canada has a score of 1 and 1 . ],,F REEHOU,,CAN,4562d94e2,473c554916,0.html,463a f2212,469f2dcf2,487ca21996,0.html

Also the status of paki Kashmir is “NOT FREE”
And status of Indian Kashmir is “PARTLY FREE”

Now I will QUOTE DIRECTLY from the website of UNHCR [about Pakistani Kashmir],463a f2212,469f2dcf2,487ca21a2a,0.html

• The political rights of the residents of Pakistani-administered Kashmir remain severely limited.
• The Northern Areas are directly administered by the Pakistani government under the Legal Framework Order of 1994
• The region is not included in the Pakistani constitution and has no constitution of its own, meaning there is no fundamental guarantee of civil rights, democratic representation, or the separation of powers.
• Executive authority is vested in the minister for Kashmir affairs, a civil servant appointed by Islamabad.
• Azad Kashmir has an interim constitution, an elected unicameral assembly, a prime minister, and a president who is elected by the legislative assembly. However, Pakistan exercises considerable control over the structures of government and electoral politics. Islamabad’s approval is required to pass legislation, and the minister for Kashmir affairs handles the daily administration of the state and controls the budget. The Pakistani military retains a guiding role on issues of politics and governance.
• Individuals and political parties who do not support Kashmir’s accession to Pakistan are barred from participating in the political process, standing for election, taking a job with any government institution, or accessing educational institutions.
• July 2006 Azad Kashmir legislative assembly elections. Overall, HRW noted that the election process was flawed and “greeted with widespread charges of poll rigging by opposition political parties and independent analysts.”
• The Pakistani government uses the constitution and other laws to curb freedom of speech on a variety of subjects, including the status of Kashmir and incidents of sectarian violence. In recent years, authorities have banned several local newspapers from publishing and have detained or otherwise harassed Kashmiri journalists.
• Books that do not adequately adhere to a proaccession stance are regularly banned, according to HRW.
• Freedoms of association and assembly are restricted. The constitution of Azad Kashmir forbids individuals and political parties from taking part in activities that are prejudicial to the ideology of the state’s accession to Pakistan.
• The judiciary is largely subservient to the executive. [executive is appointed by Islamabad]
• Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) operates throughout Azad Kashmir and the Northern Areas and engages in extensive surveillance (particularly of proindependence groups and the press), as well as arbitrary arrests and detentions. In some instances, those detained by the ISI, the police, or the security forces are tortured, and several cases of death in custody have been reported.

Well, so much for right to self determination of Indian Kashmiris .

Posted by indian boy | Report as abusive

Militancy and terrorism only signifies hatred and no respect for human life. Pakistan by adopting militancy has shown that they dont care about kashmiri people and they are only interested in their land.
India has always emphasied on growth and development which is imperative for betterment of human life.
Pakistani people should realize that extremism will always lead to disharmony and peace can be achieved only by removing such elements from the society.

Posted by Hitesh Khushalani | Report as abusive

@being born and brought up in kashmir, i truly believe that it wont be able to survive as an independent nation.
rajeev, saying that the kashmiris are just caught in between the crossfire between the indian armed forces and the militants is an understatement. there are graves human rights abuses by the indian forces which need to be checked by the indian government.

–posted by Zeenat

Zeenat: Perhaps, an understatement on my part. Are you in Kashmir now? Is Indian Army against innocent Civilians? My answer is NO. When the terrorists have firepower and training as good as it gets and are hiding among civilians and fighting against the security forces, kashmiris are facing this terrorism and counter-action. Alternative is Army drop its guns and go back to barracks and let the terrorsits rule. Is that any solution? To me, NO. What will happen? I have also seen terrorism in Punjab where people were trapped because terrorists want shelter and hiding places and security forces will go after these terrosits and also sometimes innocent or no-so innocent hosts—that was largely solved by a set of informers and the local population who was bitterly against these terrorists was a big help. But then there were also instances where this did not happen and civilians became unfortunate victims. What is local population doing? Local population lost it when they did not support their fellow Kashmiri Hindus.
Indian security is blamed for excesses and Indians blame Pakistani for running this terrorism exploiting the religious sentiment of Kashmiris. My question is: how much are Kashmiris to be blamed for where they are, keeping in mind the fellow Kashmiri Hindus.

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive

Just compare how Pak and India are handling Terrorism
PAK: >5 Lakh displaced in NWFP in just 2 weeks of fighting because of Pak army using heavy combat machinery against Taliban without any regard to civilian causalities. Destroying houses by mortar and gun fires with impunity.
India : 2 lakh Kashmiri Pandits displaced in past 20 years because of ethnic cleansing by Pak/Kashmiri terrorists.

So all Kashmiris ranting here on this forum; Be glad that you have Indian Army to protect!

Posted by chirkut | Report as abusive

Varied voices….brilliant writing…unparallel suggestions but again ironically Kashmiri’s voice is missing. For me i am rather confused and amazed by the unconditional love shown by Indians and Pakistanis for Kashmiri’s/Kashmir…. Sometimes i feel they will soon get patent for using the word kashmir.
Being a Kashmiri’s who was born in Kashmir and lived in conflict for 17 years amid gun totting Indian armymen and evading kashmiri militants,(in my childhood days they were called Mujahids…but as I grew the identity chaged)… I went to school under the gaze of a solider whom I consider and considered as an outsider to be specific not my countryman…..He always looked different from us….i don’t know…. was it his colour..his language.. his behavior…his nationality ….his religion…..his strength …his weakness ….his oppression …..his gun……his mistrust……. his aggression… his claims but there was something I never liked in him…nor I do,now………I was belong to an area which was the epicenter of the conflict….rather is…Nowhatta/Jamia Masjid in srinagar. I remember during my childhood, how we were stuffed for days together in our houses by Indian army…. Days of crackdown, when men were taken away from their homes and assembled in open placesand women and children were left behind…I as a child have seen bad of Indias and Indian state…..There were times when everyday 5-6 un-shrouded death body with blood oozing from fresh wounds and tears streaming from eyes of unknown…….My heart became hardened within couple of years of the conflict…. Back in my mind I remember the first firing incident just outside our house… I was awe struck… when the first gunshot pierced the eerie silence of cold winter night ………the noise of bursting guns was so loud that the walls of my home coudnt save me ……before that I felt secure in my house…it was the winter and the cold I was scared of….. but a new enemy was born… throughtout the night guns inking the future of Kashmir….i along with my joint family were reduced to a place not more than 5×5….. while I always boasted to my friends about my big house….it wasn’t just me who was scared … parents and everybody else was….my parents later for sometime taunted me…. I was called a coward … I think it was just to teach me I shouldn’t be one ….. time passed ….. but I hope like Kashmiri’s are not cowards anymore……If Kashmir beliongs to me why should India or Pakistan rule it….

Posted by JOURNO | Report as abusive

Indian army is not there to protect kashmir, they are there to protect Indian interests.


Kashmiri pandits were forced out of kashmir. Not everyone was forced….more than 1 lakh fled within a week and it was a coordinated effort on the part of govt… providing transport and arrangements and that too during night….

The biggest question is how many pandits were killed ….According to the govt and police records 269 pandits were killed in during the conflict…except for the few massacres.

Posted by JOURNO | Report as abusive

If India is trying to win heart and mind in Kashmir, it is fighting a losing battle. The population in J&K is so much polarised on basis of religion that, neither India nor Pakistan can claim the backing of full population. Jammu and Leh will try to remain with India while Kashmir valley will try to join Pakistan.
And as per my thinking that is the best solution as well.

Posted by Virendra Pratap Singh | Report as abusive

kashmir today is more than just terrorism and the hurriyat, i would like to draw your attention to the amarnath shrine board committe land allotment case. painful fault lines exist now in kashmir than ever before, maybe the cleansing of kashmir of its pandits has created a change in kashmir, go to a separatist rally Mr Majumdar( try yasin mallik) and you wont find grand-dads drinkng kahwah and grumbling, you will find young men shouting pakistan zindabad slogans, personally kashmir has had enough from both india and pakistan, and yet no one is asking kashmiris???? so while some may say kashmir desrves to be in india, i say kashmir may be good if it were in indian hands but let kashmiri people say that……

Posted by tarang | Report as abusive

If relgion is the basis for carving out countries, Hyderabad city can claim independence and so are the christian pockets in India.

India was formed on a secular framework; UN? What UN? I thought it was dead in the international arena for over a decade now.

Its presence is a joke at best.

Bappa Majumdar
“Could this be the right time to hold talks with the separatists to resolve the Kashmir crisis? And do Indian authorities agree?”

— Be Specific.What exactly do you have in mind while posing this question? What is your understanding of this ‘Kashmir crisis’ that you talk of –Only the 3.5 million Kashmiri muslim residing in the 8-9 districts of the valley? Or the remaining 3 million kashmiri pandits / jammuite’s / gujjars / leh & ladakhi’s / meleshi’s / shia’s & not to forget the pahari’s of POK / shia pop. Of Northern areas / the kashmiri land gifted to china by Pakistan etc. etc.
When 60 out of 89 state legislative seats are won by pro-India political parties then what is the locus standi of these so called separatists? Or should India concede to their demands for their nuisance value with support from Pakistan? Isn’t J&K already an autonomous state with their own constitution?

Posted by anup | Report as abusive


Strange that in spite of living in the hot bed of terrorism you are so oblivious of reasons behind Kashimiri Pandit’s migration. Pandits were threatened by Kashmiri terrorists to leave or get killed and many were killed to prove case in point. Nobody would benefit from this ethnic cleansing other than Pak and Separatists.

Responsibilities come before rights. Kashmiris behaved irresponsibly by targeting their minorities. And hence they have lost right of self determination.

And mind it, the day delimitation is done in JnK Kashmir will also loose its hold on JnK Assembly with Jammu getting more seats (rightly so based on their population) than Kashmir.

Indian Army is no Indian’s enemy unless you make them so for yourself. If anyone is under the misconception that they can challenge the Indian state by resorting to violence and work against the Indian Union Punjab could be a good example for them. (LTTE more recent if you like it)

Posted by chirkut | Report as abusive


Why should india strive more to win hearts and minds of Kashmiri more than a bengali, a tamil or a maharashtrian?

In fact,, to me India is bending over backwards so much to accommodate Kashmiri’s whims that she has become unjust to Laddakhis and Jammuites.

In fact Kashmiri separatists should thank their lucky stars to be in India. Had they been in some other state they would have ended up as the 3 Baloch leaders in Pakistan.

To me Kashmiri Separatists are just like Taliban(In fact they share a lot of common things). The more you yield the more they ask for.

Posted by chirkut | Report as abusive

Kashmir’s alienation is due to Pakistan. If its trained insurgents do not cross the LoC and blackmail the population to fall by their side, Kashmiris would be all right. Everyone wants peace and livelihood. In today’s situation, Kashmir is better of being part of India. With Pakistan falling apart like a deck of cards, they will see the truth for themselves.

Long ago, during Nehru’s time, the opportunity to settle Kashmir amicably was missed. I do believe in people’s self determination and freedom. But right now, that is not the top priority in Kashmir. We need to see how Pakistan goes from here on. I feel soon Pashtuns will secede from Pakistan and merge with Afghanistan or become an independent nation. This will cause a domino effect there. Kashmir will become peaceful again as the Jihadist elements will need to go back home and fight their mentors and the ISI.








Posted by JOURNO | Report as abusive


— No issues., but when you say ‘kashmir’, what do mean geographically, ethnically et al.

Posted by anup | Report as abusive




– In your previous post you said 1 lakh Pandits migrated. Now you are saying 1.5 lakh. Good that you have corrected your “Facts”. However I am deeply pained by the remorseless “Only” in the sentence. So if “Only” 1.5 people were driven out of their homes then “Only” some thousands killed. What’s the Big Deal!




– Read your history correctly. Since Ages , like Punjab, Kashmir has been an integral part of India. It is/was an important seat of shivite movements. The Shankaracharya Mutt is not there for no reason.
If you and couple of your cahoots cannot identify yourselves with India then its your problem. Many in your state do identify themselves with India. And Pal you missed the 1947 bus going to Lahore. Its still not too late. Pack up you stuff and leave for pakistan if that’s where you identify yourself.


– Modern india is not made up of just British India. It also has many ex-states merged into it. Kashmir was one of them. Read treaty of Annexation signed by Hari Singh in presence of Lord Mountbatten if you need more enlightenment.


– Seat Delimitation does matter. That will ensure that People in your state get what they deserve. KAshmir should not prosper at the cost of Jammu and LAddakh. As i said before, thank your lucky stars that you are in India. Care to read about what happened to 3 Baloch leaders?

Posted by chirkut | Report as abusive

tarang, virendra pratap singh
Even after 62 yrs of partition, 30 or so hindus ran for their lives and left the snake pit called pakistan and entered India seeking asylum just this past month; there are 170 muslims in India and a paltry one lack or less Hindus in Pakistan, because they were (hindus) murdered and forcibly converted since partition.
You sound like dumb idiots who don’t have anything valuable over your shoulders, so better keep your learned opinions to yourselves. What if telugu people decide to kick out non telugus out of andhra Pradesh, as they conclude that non telugus just don’t belong there. Would you, hypothetically assuming that you live in AP, pack up and go leaving your immovable property and life. If so where do you go? Since India has muslim population larger than entire Pak population, India should now demand land from Pakistan. After all, the partition was based on a noble cause of religion and accordingly, India should have more land than it was allotted at the time of partition.
Your holier than thou attitude should be kept to your selves and prompt you to start distributing your personal properties to your neighbors, and then you just go declare sanyas- just dont let that attitude of yours punish others.

For the last 60 years we have been fighting for Kashmir. Huge chunks of our budget is spent on the Kashmir issue.If we had left Kashmir we had become singapore or malaysia. We went to every extent supporting Kashmir.Kashmir was and is a muslim majority state which has its historical trade and effection for Pakistan. If India is so sure that Kashmiris want to be a part of Kashmir than they should hold a UN sponsored refrendum in Kashmir and let the Kashmiris decide and let the dispute end finally.You are saying that Pakistan wants Kashmirs lands then we both should withdraw from Kashmir and declare it an autonomous region and let the Kahmiris live in peace forever, but oppressing them would even more strengthen their resolve to join Pakistan which is truly just!

Posted by Moaaz Awan | Report as abusive

Someone compared TamilNadu with JK, irrelevant. Donot simply go by Indian English media, therez no insurgency in India to protect borders. Tamils supporting the cause of tamils in Srilanka doesn’t mean Insurgency, pakistanis also supporting (covertly) muslim’s cause in India, so do you say those pakistani’s want to leave pakistan and join India

Posted by Cholas | Report as abusive

We Indians need to face the issue than prolonging the agony of Kashmir. For the same purpose the so called separatists need to come to the table. This may be a tough thing as they just want to prolong the whole process. The political games get even more muskier as in the so called pro independence faction has an under the table alliance with the terrorist community , who by the way want total chaos to prevail.

Posted by VijithV | Report as abusive