In Kashmir, India now struggles with “children of conflict”

July 21, 2010

Kashmir has been seething since early June. Life across the Muslim-majority valley has been completely disrupted by curfews and protest strikes since some of the biggest anti-India demonstrations in two years erupted a month ago.

A Kashmiri Muslim man crosses a deserted road marked with graffiti during a curfew in Srinagar July 16, 2010. REUTERS/Fayaz Kabli/FilesSeventeen people, mostly teenage protesters, have been killed by security forces in near daily pro-freedom demonstrations fuelling anger across the disputed Himalayan region.

India blames Pakistan-based militants for the ongoing Kashmir protests but Kashmiris say the protests are spontaneous.

Who are these people organising freedom rallies and have discovered the power of mass protests that have dumbfounded the entire government?

They assemble in hundreds — and in some cases thousands, shouting, “Go India go”, “We want freedom” and take to the streets, pelting stones at police and paramilitary forces.

On Facebook, YouTube and other social networking sites, they are spreading creative ideas for civil disobedience to challenge Indian rule.

They are Kashmir’s new generation of radicalised separatists, a new generation that has grown up in the shadow of the two-decade-old violence between Indian troops and separatist guerrillas that has killed tens of thousands of

Kashmir’s senior separatist leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq recently told NDTV it is high time for the people of India to realise that the “baton of Kashmir’s freedom struggle” has passed on to the next generation.

“No military measure will be able to break the will and resolve of the people of Kashmir,” said Farooq.

The fresh wave of unrest started on June 11 when a 17-year-old student died after being hit by a teargas shell fired by police during a pro-freedom demonstration in Srinagar.

Since then, 16 other people have been killed by government forces during protests fuelling anti-India anger in Kashmir, a region where sentiments against New Delhi’s rule run deep.

Daily protests by thousands of Kashmiris in the past month highlight how a younger generation who know little but strife are taking the lead and radicalising a separatist movement that had tentatively talked peace with New Delhi.

Several failed rounds of peace talks between moderate separatists and New Delhi and a rise in killings blamed on security forces has further alienated the people of Kashmir.

Most of Kashmir has been locked down to quell protests, separatist leader and hundreds of protesters have been arrested and the police is raiding homes without warrants.

But anti-India protests still continue across the scenic region.

Rebel violence has significantly declined in Kashmir but for the time being the automatic rifles have given way to slingshots, grenades and stones.

Is Kashmir a near-forgotten conflict set to explode? Is the strife-torn region ready to slide into a renewed phase of armed uprising?


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

[…] to invite all players for Kashmir talksHindustan TimesKashmir and the poverty of politicsThe HinduIn Kashmir, India now struggles with “children of conflict”Reuters India (blog)Rising Kashmir -Kashmir Observer (press  […]

Posted by Centre to call all J&K groups for talks soon – Times of India | | Report as abusive

yes if Government of India does not take cognizance of aspiration of these young people. the region will see a fresh [hase of militancy. But this time it will be more lethal and more dangrous and can evolope the most parts of the country. So I think it is saner to address kashmir as soon as possible.

Posted by Farzu | Report as abusive

IT is true that the baton of freedom has been transferred to the Kashmir’s next generation. The current uprising in Kashmir has proved one thing that the freedom movement is in safe hands for next three decades atleast. The gen X of Kashmir is creative and determined – they have already taken this war to the internet – youtube, facebook, orkut and other social networking sites. And the time is not far when Indian government will relaize that they have to give freedom to the people of Kashmir. It is good fot India if they realize it soon.

Posted by Omder | Report as abusive

When deaths, terror and curfews become norm, protests and anger is what comes as response. However, in its reality the frequent protests in Kashmir are not the outcome of the retaliation against the killings that happens with the passage of time. It is, instead, associated with the sentiment of freedom that lies deeply embedded within the hearts of people. Had killings been the only reason, then people would have simply demanded justice or the culprits being brought to the book. But every time there is a protest in Kashmir people raise slogans “we want freedom,” “Go India Go”. It is a fight between the Azadi and Occupation…

Posted by Iqbal.A | Report as abusive

Children of Conflict??

My answer to these children is as follows.

1) What Conflict?

There is no conflict. Kashmir was always part of India. Pakistan tried to take it but, failed. Then, this pseudo conflict and Scenes on the hope that, some International organization for Human Rights will take note and put pressure through UN.

2) Who is the Children?

Kashmiri Pundits who are the people of Kashmir were driven out of Kashmir by the Non-Indian Muslim Majority. The Muslim majority who slip through the border from Pakistan, Bangladesh. These so called ‘children’ have no legitimate claim on Kashmir. All I see is Human Filth created by Pakistan.

3) Azadi ? Independance?

Who is oppressing/forcing rule in the first place for Independance? If you are not an Indian in Kashmir then, you feel like living out of your natural country right? Yes.

Go back to your country!!!!
Your (children’s) country needs their immense energy to build itself. It has nothing.

4) Independance for what? Go back India !

Suppose India just says ‘Ok we are not going to be in Kashmir’ out of sheer inability to handle the terrorists.
The next thing that is going to happen is

a) Pakistan will just invade, kick these ‘children’. Once the puppet has done its job it is useless. They will just establish bases in this new part and again send people to do this ‘all over again’.

b) Not to mention you know who next door who has an eye for any piece of land due to population.

My point is

1) A group of people who don’t have anything else to do are running these riots.

2) If these ‘children’ really need independance and think they are better, then prove it. BUILD something. That should be a challenge!!!! BUILD a city, Do WORK.

3) If these people are claiming alliance based on religion, then, that is the lamest thing in the world.
And yes this valley now has a majority of lame people.

4) Dont forget that, they are drinking water, eating food and using resources contributed from all over India.

5) If these people can’t build or contribute but, want a part of India. Then, I suggest

– Get out and fight the army like men at the border.

Above all, If it was some other nation these people would have been 6 feet under the next day of their first protest in 1950s.

Finally, to those ‘international organizations’ who think this is independance struggle, what would you say if, for example, suddenly, there is demand for independance by the cousins of these ‘children’ in France, Switzerland, Britain or Manhattan. Then, you will know what India is going through. You bet it is comming.

Posted by KrishnaSharma | Report as abusive

It would be good to try giving freedom to the Muslim majority regions of Kashmir. Jammu and Ladakh should stay with India. The new generation will live off blaming India for all ills. Then the reality will dawn. Pakistan is not going to allow an independent Kashmir to exist. It is an extremely strategic region for all nations surrounding this region. Pakistan will send in its proxies and run it like it did in Afghanistan. And it will make the word “brutal” mild. But that’s ok. For a generation the two populations will smooch with each other using Islamic unity, anti-India venom etc. Pakistan will now accuse India of causing sabotage to peace in its Kashmir and expand the already existing paranoia of India waiting to destroy Pakistan. They are saying that all will be well as soon as Kashmir is “settled.” This means it goes to Pakistan. But they are not going to stop at that. They will continue with their “counter moves” to thwart India’s alleged attempt to gobble up all of Pakistan. Nothing will change at the ground level in Kashmir other than five times of prayer. Kashmir will become another Swat valley full of radical militants dictating terms. But if Kashmiri Muslims are willing to go in that direction it is their freedom and choice. Things are not going to be any better for them. They do not realize how Pakistan dealt with dissent in East Pakistan, Balochistan and Sindh. But hey, I am all for India focusing on its progress and get rid off all the barriers that are dragging its feet.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive

i am stealing umar’s comment. I love it.
“This new generation is witness to their childhood and youth snatched in this conflict. Having prematurely matured, they are creative, exuberant, thinking, writing, ideating, fighting lies with their truth, as they have experienced growing up in Kashmir. They are our hope. They will take our struggle against forgetfulness to another level. They have not lost hope, yet. And they will keep our hopes alive. “

Posted by haleema11 | Report as abusive

This new generation is witness to their childhood and youth snatched in this conflict. Having prematurely matured, they are creative, exuberant, thinking, writing, ideating, fighting lies with their truth, as they have experienced growing up in Kashmir. They are our hope. They will take our struggle against forgetfulness to another level. They have not lost hope, yet. And they will keep our hopes alive.

Posted by Majid123 | Report as abusive

It is unfortunate that India is blaming the present uprising to Pakistan and militant groups based there. It speaks volumes about New Delhi’s ignorance about Kashmir problem. Fighting for twenty years in Kashmir, Indians have learnt only one thing, oppression not heal wounds of the people. But ven if this time they wake up put it is too late. The new round of militancy is imminent. And Kashmir’s freedom struggle is safe for next two decades in the hands of new generation…”The Children of Conflict”

Posted by Imi | Report as abusive

such things have been happening in past too but nothing comes out except change of delhi’s viceroy of j&k …unless & until geopolitics allows kashmir issue is not going get resolved in near future which is closely linked to outcome in afganistan and new economic order

Posted by walee | Report as abusive

welcome back writer : “AS you sow so shall you reap” holds true for India, this time India seems to be caught up, because people in Kashmir have become highly outrageous and are not ready to accept any thing less than self determination, and this time India has no way out in terms of Kashmir and now they are talking about AUTONOMY, which again will be rejected. younger generation of Kashmir has adopted this social networking JIHAD so that they can disseminate the information that is otherwise gaged, and in this way more and more people are understanding the plight of people in Kashmir:

Posted by littlemiss | Report as abusive

Jayye to Jayye kahan, samje ga kaun yaha, darad bhare dil ki juban!!( where shall we go? who will understand? cry of a pain full heart.)yes it pains to fight with our own country men, it pains the military as well as the civilians. it never pains to polititians of india as well as terrorists from pak. my country men where will you go?kaua har jagah kala hi hota hay( crow is always black, every where).

Posted by RameshSopan | Report as abusive

I think a viscious cycle is back in the Vale of Kashmir. I call it Humanity at the deaths door. So called Democratic nations like India can go to great lengths to Suppress the Freedom of Expression. Everybody knows that the writing on the walls and suppression will not silence what lies hidden within the hearts . Peace should prevail in the valley and Almighty should give us what is best for us.

Posted by Tajamul | Report as abusive

Ban Ki Moon criticises Indian atrocities
But its not only Ban Ki!
In recent UN statement, Ban Ki Mon has shown “concern over the prevailing security situation in Indian Kashmir” and “encouraged both sides (India and Pakistan) to rekindle the spirit of the composite…and make renewed efforts to address outstanding issues, including on Jammu and Kashmir.” An article “KASHMIR: Cameron, Could You Not See Blood On Manmohan’s Hands?” dated 01 August 2010 states “David Cameron, the British Prime Minister was in Dehli completely blinded by the dollars that he wanted for his ailing economy back in the UK. He showed no concern for the daily falling bodies of the Kashmiris for their right for self determination.” On issue of additional troops deployment in Kashmir, Sumit Ganguly, an American Professor of Indian origin, wrote in an article published in the Wall Street Journal that” the Kashmir problem had no military solution. He said: “The army will resort to a colonial relic, the ‘flag march’, to display military might and cow the protesters off the streets“ Yet while this might work in the short term, the army’s deployment is no panacea,”. The desperate state resulting in desertion of Indian forces and police, number of troops and police officers are resigning. Hindustan Time wrote, “The situation in Kashmir seems to be spiraling out of control and no one seems in charge.” Kashmir has Gaza like state of affairs, height of atrocities can be witnessed during July when 33 Kashmiris were killed, eight of them were children, death toll in the valley sum up to 93,307 since 1989. Defence analyst, B.Raman states, “We are facing an Intifada of the Palestinian model in J & K for the first time. It is a spontaneous outburst of anger by sections of the youth over what they allege is the disproportionate use of force by the police and the CRPF ( Central Reserve Police Force). ”. I recently visited my relatives in Kashmir and realities forced me to think like a normal human for a minute and not just an Indian.
Krishna Das Pandit

Posted by KDPandit | Report as abusive