Militants in Indian-administered Kashmir have increased the targeted killing of Hindus, who are a small minority in the region, spreading panic among them. In this Q&A, Crisis Group expert Praveen Donthi draws upon interviews with residents to explore the implications of this violence.
Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) marked three years since India revoked its special status, as controversy persisted over electoral register. Ahead of third anniversary on 5 Aug of India’s revocation of J&K’s special status and arrest of local leaders across political spectrum, govt 4 Aug released data to support its claim that militancy had decreased in last three years. Marking anniversary, Organisation for Islamic Cooperation called for “reversal of all illegal and unilateral actions” by India. In BBC interview, J&K Lt-Governor Manoj Sinha 19 Aug claimed Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, chairman of Hurriyat separatist political outfit and Kashmir’s chief cleric, was “neither under house arrest or detained”; Hurriyat refuted claims. Meanwhile, J&K Chief Electoral Officer Hirdesh Kumar 17 Aug announced that “anyone who is living ordinarily” can be “enlisted as a voter in J&K”, marking change from pre-2019 policy which permitted only permanent residents to vote; Kumar said govt expected 2.5mn new voters – marking 30% increase – which sparked outrage as mainstream political parties accused India’s ruling Bhartiya Janata Party of manipulating electoral balance in its favour. In second such act in as many months, China 11 Aug blocked bid by India and U.S. to list Rauf Asghar, deputy chief of Pakistan-based militant group Jaish-e-Mohammad and brother of group’s founder, as designated militant at UN Security Council; India’s UN envoy protested decision. Security operations and militant attacks continued in J&K. Operation 5 Aug killed one security force and one militant in Kulgam; 10 Aug killed three LeT militants in Budgam district. Militants 4 Aug hurled grenade at non-local labourers in Pulwama district, killing one, and 12 Aug killed another in Bandipore district; 11 Aug sought to storm army camp in Rajouri district, leaving four militants and two soldiers dead; 13 Aug killed one security personnel in grenade attack in Kulgam district; 14 Aug killed one security force in Srinagar. Militants 17 Aug attacked two Kashmiri Pandits in Shopian district, killing one; Kashmiri Pandit Sangharsh Samiti (KPSS), group of Pandits living in Kashmir, same day appealed to all Pandits to leave region.
Crisis Group’s Watch List identifies ten countries or regions at risk of deadly conflict or escalation thereof in 2022. In these places, early action, driven or supported by the EU and its member states, could enhance prospects for peace and stability.
As the decades-old conflict continues in Kashmir, with incidents occurring every week, dangerous tensions make future violence possible. In this excerpt from the Watch List 2022, Crisis Group urges the EU and its member states to push for India and Pakistan to rebuild mutual respect and peaceful relations by resuming formal bilateral ties and re-engaging with Kashmiri political leaders.
One year ago, India rescinded constitutional provisions giving special status to Jammu and Kashmir, the disputed territory also claimed by Pakistan. Kashmiri militancy is growing, often with Pakistani encouragement. Allies should urge New Delhi to relax its clampdown and Islamabad to stop backing jihadist proxies.
Reciprocal airstrikes by India and Pakistan have been accompanied by shelling, troop reinforcements and small arms fire. In this Q&A calling for restraint between the nuclear-armed neighbours, Crisis Group’s Asia Program Director Laurel Miller notes that the airspace violations alone were the worst for 50 years.
A 14 February suicide attack by Pakistan-based militants was their bloodiest strike in Indian-administered Kashmir in over three decades. In this Q&A, our Asia Program Director Laurel Miller warns that even a limited Indian retaliatory strike could spark a sharp escalation in conflict between the nuclear-armed neighbours.
Their recent dialogue process provides the best chance yet for bilateral peace and regional stability, but Pakistan and India must still overcome serious mistrust among hardliners in their security elites.
Even if India and Pakistan appear willing to allow more interaction across the Line of Control (LOC) that separates the parts of Kashmir they administer, any Kashmir-based dialogue will fail if they do not put its inhabitants first.
When the third round of the normalisation talks concludes in July 2006, India and Pakistan will be no closer than when they began the process in February 2004 to resolving differences, including over Kashmir.