India Insight

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

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.

Amnesty International on rare visit to Kashmir

Amnesty International member Ramesh Gopal Krishan meets Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Chairman of Kashmir's All Parties Hurriyat Conference, before a meeting in Srinagar May 18, 2010. REUTERS/Danish Ismail

New Delhi has allowed a team from rights watchdog Amnesty International to visit strife-torn Kashmir for the first time since an armed rebellion against Indian rule broke out over two decades ago.

The two-member team arrived earlier this week to assess the human rights situation in the region where officials say more than 47,000 people have been killed since 1989.

Local human rights groups put the toll at about 60,000 dead or missing.

Amnesty International has in the past reported on human rights violations in the disputed Himalayan region and accused both government forces and separatist rebels of abuses against
the people of Kashmir.

Do Kashmir separatists seek to revive dialogue with new Indian government?

After India’s ruling Congress party won a decisive victory, Kashmir’s main separatist alliance urged New Delhi to resolve the decades-old dispute over the Himalayan region.

Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, chairman of All Parties Hurriyat (Freedom) Conference, said India has a strong government after a long gap and it is time for a solution to the Kashmir issue.

Are Kashmir separatists seeking to revive a stalled dialogue?

Talks between New Delhi and moderate separatists broke down in 2007 after three years, and the failure, which separatists say further alienated the people of the region from India, was partly attributed to the country’s “weak” government.

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